Plan & Prepare
Tornadoes: What to do After a Tornado
(Much of the information on this page is adapted from information provided by the American Red Cross, FEMA and the National Weather Service).
After The Storm Passes
- Help injured or trapped persons. Give first aid
when appropriate. Do not try to move the seriously injured
unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
- Check on neighbors who may require special assistance
- infants, elderly people and people with disabilities.
People who care for them or have large families may need
additional assistance caring for several people in emergency
- Continue listening to local radio or TV stations or a
NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions.
Access may be limited to some parts of the community, or
roads may be blocked.
- Call for help, if needed. Use the telephone only
for emergency calls.
- Stay out of damaged buildings. Return home only
when authorities say it is safe.
- Watch out for fallen power lines and report them immediately.
Reporting potential hazards will get the utilities turned
off as quickly as possible, preventing further hazard and
- Do not use matches in a storm ravaged area until
all gas lines are checked for leaks. Keep flashlights and
plenty of batteries at hand.
- Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, or gasoline
or other flammable liquids.
- Take pictures of the damage - both to the house
and its contents - for insurance purposes.
Inspecting Utilities In A Damaged Home
- Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear a
blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave
the building. Turn off the gas at the main valve if you
can and call the gas company from a neighbor's home. If
you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned
back on by a professional.
- Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks
or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation,
turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit
breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the
fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for
- Check for sewage and water line damage. If you
suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using toilets and
call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the
water company and avoid using water from the tap. You can
obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.