Tornado Warning Signs You Need to Know

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Learn What Protective Measures to Take Before, During & After Tornados 

A common myth is that you don’t have to worry about tornados if you live in a relatively low risk area. That is false. You should always be on guard and prepared to protect your family. Tornado preparedness is not just for those in Tornado Alley. Most states will have tornados touch down in a lifetime. 

Knowing what to do before, during and after a tornado is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count. 

Protective Measures 

Take a look at the basic measures you should take during a tornado:

  • Physical safety is a concern – you should seek immediate shelter.
  • Develop a family communications plan ahead of time before any storms strike.
  • Make an emergency supply kit.
  • Learn about receiving emergency alerts and local emergency plans for shelter, local emergency contacts, and local advance alerts and warnings.

Don’t wait any longer! We have shelters that will fit any type of house including above ground and below ground models. Request more information today!

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Tornado Preparedness Checklist

Tornados are nature’s most violent storms. Created from powerful thunderstorms, tornados can cause deaths and injuries as well as devastate a neighborhood in seconds. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour.

Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Every state is at some risk from this hazard. Some tornados are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds obscure others. Occasionally, tornados develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible.

Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible. Tornados generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.

What To Do Before A Tornado

  • To begin with, you should make an emergency kit as well as a family communication plan.
  • Listen to the weather on the radio or to television newscasts for the latest information. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.
  • Be alert to changing weather conditions & approaching storms.
  • Always look for the following danger signs:
    • Dark & Greenish Sky
    • Large Hail
    • Large, Dark & Low-Lying Clouds (particularly if rotating)
    • Loud Roar (similar to a freight train)

The most important thing to remember is if you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.

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Resources and Tips to Help Kids Cope with Natural Disasters

Disasters can leave kids feeling frightened, confused, and insecure. Whether a child has personally experienced trauma, has merely seen the event on television or has heard it discussed by adults, it is important for parents and teachers to be informed and ready to help if reactions to stress begin to occur.

Children may respond to disaster by demonstrating fears, sadness or behavioral problems. Younger children may return to earlier behavior patterns, such as bed wetting, sleep problems and separation anxiety. Older children may also display anger, aggression, school problems or withdrawal. Some children who have only indirect contact with the disaster but witness it on television may develop distress.

Recognizing the Risk Factors

For many children, reactions to disasters are brief and represent normal reactions to "abnormal events." A smaller number of children can be at risk for more enduring psychological distress as a function of three major risk factors:

  • On-going stress from the secondary effects of disaster, such as temporarily living elsewhere, loss of friends and social networks, loss of personal property, parental unemployment, and costs incurred during recovery to return the family to pre-disaster life and living conditions.
  • Loss/grief: This relates to the death or serious injury of family or friends.
  • Direct exposure to the disaster, such as being evacuated, observing injuries or death of others, or experiencing injury along with fearing one’s life is in danger.

Vulnerabilities in Kids

In most cases, depending on the risk factors above, distressing responses are temporary. In the absence of severe threat to life, injury, loss of loved ones, or secondary problems such as loss of home, moves, etc., symptoms usually diminish over time. For those that were directly exposed to the disaster, reminders of the disaster such as high winds, smoke, cloudy skies, sirens, or other reminders of the disaster may cause upsetting feelings to return. Having a prior history of some type of traumatic event or severe stress may contribute to these feelings.

Children’s coping with disaster or emergencies is often tied to the way parents cope. They can detect adults’ fears and sadness. Parents and adults can make disasters less traumatic for children by taking steps to manage their own feelings and plans for coping. Parents are almost always the best source of support for children in disasters. One way to establish a sense of control and to build confidence in children before a disaster is to engage and involve them in preparing a family disaster plan. After a disaster, children can contribute to a family recovery plan.

Meeting Your Child’s Emotional Needs

Kid’s reactions are influenced by the behavior, thoughts, and feelings of adults. Adults should encourage children and adolescents to share their thoughts and feelings about the incident. Clarify misunderstandings about risk and danger by listening to children’s concerns and answering questions. Maintain a sense of calm by validating children’s concerns and perceptions and with discussion of concrete plans for safety.

Listen to what the child is saying. If a young child is asking questions about the event, answer them simply without the elaboration needed for an older child or adult. Some children are comforted by knowing more or less information than others; decide what level of information your particular child needs. If a child has difficulty expressing feelings, allow the child to draw a picture or tell a story of what happened.

Try to understand what is causing anxieties and fears. Be aware that following a disaster, children are most afraid that:

  • The event will happen again.
  • Someone close to them will be killed or injured.
  • They will be left alone or separated from the family.

Reassuring Children After a Disaster

Suggestions to help reassure children include the following:

  • Personal contact is reassuring. Hug and touch your children.
  • Calmly provide factual information about the recent disaster and current plans for insuring their safety along with recovery plans.
  • Encourage your children to talk about their feelings.
  • Spend extra time with your children such as at bedtime.
  • Re-establish your daily routine for work, school, play, meals, and rest.
  • Involve your children by giving them specific chores to help them feel they are helping to restore family and community life.
  • Praise and recognize responsible behavior.
  • Understand that your children will have a range of reactions to disasters.
  • Encourage your children to help update your a family disaster plan.

If you have tried to create a reassuring environment by following the steps above, but your child continues to exhibit stress, if the reactions worsen over time, or if they cause interference with daily behavior at school, at home, or with other relationships, it may be appropriate to talk to a professional. You can get professional help from the child’s primary care physician, a mental health provider specializing in children’s needs, or a member of the clergy.

Monitor & Limit Exposure to the Media

News coverage related to a disaster may elicit fear and confusion and arouse anxiety in children. This is particularly true for large-scale disasters where significant property damage and loss of life has occurred. Particularly for younger children, repeated images of an event may cause them to believe the event is recurring over and over.

If parents allow children to watch television or use the Internet where images or news about the disaster are shown, parents should be with them to encourage communication and provide explanations. This may also include parent’s monitoring and appropriately limiting their own exposure to anxiety-provoking information.

Use Support Networks

Parents help their children when they take steps to understand and manage their own feelings and ways of coping. They can do this by building and using social support systems of family, friends, community organizations and agencies, faith-based institutions, or other resources that work for that family. Parents can build their own unique social support systems so that in an emergency situation or when a disaster strikes, they can be supported and helped to manage their reactions. As a result, parents will be more available to their children and better able to support them. Parents are almost always the best source of support for children in difficult times. But to support their children, parents need to attend to their own needs and have a plan for their own support.

Preparing for disaster helps everyone in the family accept the fact that disasters do happen, and provides an opportunity to identify and collect the resources needed to meet basic needs after disaster. Preparation helps; when people feel prepared, they cope better and so do children.

Helping Other After a Natural Disaster

The compassion and generosity of the American people is never more evident than after a disaster. People want to help. Here are some general guidelines on helping others after a disaster:

Donate Money

Financial contributions to a recognized disaster relief organization are the most effective donation to make.

  • Most needed and the most efficient way of helping those impacted by disaster.
  • Allow voluntary organizations to fund response and recovery efforts, obtain goods and services locally, and provide direct financial assistance to disaster survivors to meet their own needs.
  • Make a financial contribution to the voluntary organization of your choice.
  • If you need help in determining who to give to, National Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster website has a list of major non-profits that are active in disaster work or you can make your offer through the National Donations Management Network.

When the public supports these voluntary organizations with financial contributions, it helps ensure a steady flow of important services to the people in need after a disaster.


Volunteer with a recognized organization involved in disaster response and recovery prior to the next disaster event.

The generosity and kindness of people around the country does a lot to help communities heal from the tragic consequences of disasters.

Donate Goods

Learn ways that you can effectively help others after a disaster. Please note that it is best to confirm what is needed before taking action.

  • Donate in-kind goods that are specifically requested or needed by recognized organizations.
  • Unsolicited donated goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable foodstuffs require helping agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.
  • Confirm the needs by contacting the voluntary organization of your choice before starting to collect.
  • If you have a quantity of a given item or class of item to donate, and you need help in determining which organizations to give to, you can make your offer through the National Donations Management Network.

Everyone is moved when they hear the news that disaster has struck a community. By learning the best ways to donate and volunteer, we can all make a huge difference in the lives of those affected.

Don’t wait any longer! Start protecting your family by ordering your shelter today!

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Apps for Survival & Emergency Situations

Are you the type of person who likes to be prepared for any situation? We are too! Check out our list of severe weather, disaster, and survival apps to stay alert and prepared.

Apps for Survival

Please note that you will need to check each to see the compatibility with your iOS or Android device.

General Emergency Apps

Severe Weather Apps





Where to Find Shelter When a Tornado Strikes

stock image of a tornado | Ground Zero Storm SheltersTornado season usually happens during the springtime, but those of you who live in tornado alley can attest to the fact that a tornado can occur any time, any place. It's important that you and your family have a plan that includes a designated safe spot in your house if a tornado occurs. There are several things to keep in mind as you designate a safe place to go.

Make Sure You Are Prepared

Protect your head and body with pillows, blankets or mattresses. If you have small children or pets, make sure they are well protected. Keep a flashlight and a cell phone with you, preferably in your pocket. That way you can call someone for help if you're trapped, and you will have a flashlight which will help you be found. A battery-powered radio or television is also good to keep in your safe place to stay well-informed.

Where to Go

Interior Room - If you do not have a basement or a storm shelter, you should go to an interior room that is on the lowest level of the home - a closet or bathroom is best. You can also go to an interior hallway in a building on the lowest level. You should stay away from windows, exterior walls and doorways. Stay out of large rooms such as auditoriums, the middle of a grocery store or large hallways. The smaller the room or hallway, the better. If there is a heavy piece of furniture in the room, take cover under it.

Basement - If you don't have a storm shelter, the basement is the next best thing to a tornado shelter. If there are windows in your basement make sure to stay away from them.

Storm Shelters - One of the safest places to be when a tornado hits is in a storm shelter. We have many varieties to choose from depending on the setup of your home. Below are the storm shelters we can install:

Helpful Reminders

Never try to outrun a tornado. Do not stand by a window nor stand out on the porch trying to record or take pictures. If under a tornado warning, get to your storm shelter or safe place immediately! If you follow these tips, you will maximize your chances of being safe during a tornado!


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