On average,1,253 tornadoes occur in the United States every year. They happen all over the globe and are not limited to a particular geographic area. Catching a glimpse of a tornado is pretty rare, and the odds of dying in a tornado are 1 in 4,513,000. If you do find yourself subjected to the severe destruction of a tornado though, these are some steps to take after one strikes.

Provide help

Help anyone that is trapped or injured. If it is appropriate, provide first aid. If the person is seriously injured, do not try to move them unless they are in danger of additional injury. Instead, call for help. Also assist any neighbors that that might need special care, such as infants, people with disabilities, and the elderly.

Emergency Information

Turn on the radio or TV if possible to get the most up-to-date emergency information. Only use the phone for emergency calls.

Inspect the damage

If you notice any spilled medicine, bleaches, gasoline, or other flammable liquids, clean them up immediately. Check these utility areas and inspect the damages:

  • Gas leaks – If you hear a hissing or blowing noise, or smell gas, open a window and leave the building right away. Turn off the main gas valve if possible and call the gas company from your cell phone outside or use a landline from a neighbor. Should you turn the gas off, a professional must turn it back on.
  • Sewer and water lines – If any of the water pipes are damaged, avoid using the tap and call the water company. If you need safe water, you can access this by melting ice cubes. Additionally, if you believe that sewer lines may be damaged, do not use the toilets and call a plumber.
  • Electrical system – If you smell hot insulation, see any sparks or frayed or broken wires, turn off the circuit breaker or the main fuse box. Should you have to step in water to access this, call an electrician for advice, so you avoid electrocuting yourself.

If you do find any damage, internally or externally, be sure to take pictures of the house and its content, so you have them to provide the insurance company.

Vacate unsafe or damaged buildings

If you smell gas or chemical fumes, leave the building immediately. If your home is damaged, vacate the premises and only return when authorities confirm it is safe. Stay out of any other damaged buildings as well.