• Background

Public Education

Thunderstorm/Tornado Safety

  • Listen for NOAA Weather Radio, local radio, television and cable stations for the latest weather updates.  To ensure a continuous flow of weather ifnormation, make sure the NOAA Weather Radio, or another radio or television has a battery back up.
  • NOAA Weather Radio information in Monroe County is broadcast on a frequency of 162.450 MHz.  Special receivers with tone-alert (alarm) capabilities are recommended.  These may be purchased as a reasonable price at local electronics retailers.

What to do when thunderstorms approach:

  • Follow the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule.  Go indoors, count to 30.  If you cannot finish counting to 30 before you hear thunder, remain indoors.  Do not go outdoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.  Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 10 miles from any rainfall.
  • Move to a sturdy building.
  • If too far from shelter, find a low spot away from trees, fences and poles, but not in a place subject to flooding.  If you are boating or swimming, get to land and shelter immediately.
  • If you feel your skin tingle or hair stand on end, lightning may be about to strike.  Squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet.  Place your hands on your knees with your head between them.  Minimize contact with the ground.
  • Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity.  Unplug appliances not necessary for receiving weather information.  Use telephones only in an emergency.

Preparing for a tornado:

  • Have emergency supplies on hand, including a battery-operated radio, a flashlight, and a supply of fresh batteries.
  • Know the warning signals used.  In Monroe County, a 3-minute steady siren means go indoors, and tune to radio or tv for officials news and information.
  • Make an inventory of household furnishings and other possessions.  Supplement it with photographs of each room.  Keep in a safe place.
  • Plan ahead.  Be sure everyone in your household knows where to go and what to do in case of a tornado warning.

What to do when a tornado threatens:

  • Get into a shelter, preferably a permanent structure, in the basement or lowest floor.
  • Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.  Protect your head with a pillow, blankets, or even a mattress.
  • In homes and small buildings, go to the basement and get under something sturdy.  If no basement is available, go to an interior part of home on the lowest level.  A good rule of thumb is to put as many walls between you and the tornado as possible.
  • In schools, hospitals, and public places, move to desginated shelter areas.  Interior hallways aon the lowest floors are best.
  • Mobile homes and vehicles offer virtually no shelter.  Leave them and go to the near3eest shelter.  If there is no shelter nearby, the best alternative is to lie in the nearest ditch and shield your head and your arms.

After a tornado:

  • Inspect your property, including motor vehicles, for damage.  Check for electrical problems and gas leaks and report them to theutility company at once.
  • Watch out for fallen power lines.  Stay out of damaged buildings until you are sure they are safe and will not  collapse.  Secure your proprty from further damage or theft.
  • Use only approve or chlorinated supplies of drinking water.