Tornado Safety

Tornado Safety

For those who travel to and/or through, or live in tornado prone areas you must make sure you are prepared.   The power and ferocity of a tornado can’t be under estimated nor can it be dealt with. The power of winds that can hurl cars and trucks through the air like children’s toy, and devastate homes as if they were put through a food processor, warrant our respect and fear.


Preparing for a Tornado

The only way to mitigate the risks to your personal safety is to prepare in advance. Once the warnings and sightings are in progress it is too late to plan. This means that you must prepare in advance to reduce the risks to yourself and you family.


In Advance

There are three main things that you should do while the weather is clear and there is no threat of a tornado.



If you live in a high risk home for tornado damage (i.e. a mobile home) locate all of the potential shelter areas within walking and running distance. These shelters include actual tornado shelters and sturdy buildings that stand a better chance of survival. Discover how these structures will be available during a disaster. For example some commercial buildings are locked as soon as a tornado watch or warning is issued. A good way to scout for a potential shelter is to ask your local fire department.


If you drive through areas prone to tornadoes on a regular basis (i.e. you commute or truck route) identify potential shelter options on your route.


Prepare and Plan

Establish a plan for yourself and you family for the coming storm. You should prepare this plan well in advance of thunderstorm and tornado season. Your plan should include:


  • Preparing to head to shelter – shoe or boots, helmets, heavy clothing, flashlights.
  • Knowing the route to the shelter.
  • Determine if and how you will your take pets? Have carriers or leashes ready and accessible. Plan for the unfortunate event that you are unable find them or to get them on a leash or in a carrier. Understand that time is your enemy you will put your life and the lives of your family at risk if you spend too much time.
  • Make sure your pets are chipped or have good identification collars. In the event that you get separated from your pet quality updated identification is the best way to be reunited with your pet.
  • A communications plan. How will you communicate with family and friends once the storm passes?


Practice your plan. As you practice you will discover what does and does not work. You will also discover what items you are missing. As you practice revise your plan as necessary.


When a Tornado is Imminent

When a tornado is imminent: cover up, flee anything mobile, and find shelter.

Cover Up

Put on your sturdiest pair of shoes or boots immediately at the first warning. If you have a hardhat, bike helmet, motorcycle helmet, or any other head protection put it on. Make sure anyone with is doing the same thing. If you have time get on long pants and a long sleeve shirt. The more protection you can put on the better.


Flee Anything Mobile

If you are in a car, truck, RV, on a motorcycle, or within or on any other type of vehicle get out as fast as you possibly can and find shelter. If you are in a mobile home, get out and get to shelter.



Find shelter underground or in the inner most room of the most secure building available. The best place to shelter during a tornado is in an underground shelter. If this is not an option for you look for the sturdiest building you can find and get inside, moving toward the middle of the building away from all the windows, exterior walls, and exterior doors.


A Common Mistake

One of the most common mistakes is to attempt to drive away from the storm. As traffic builds and panic sets in everything will grind to a stop. This puts you at extreme risk.


The Meanings of Watches and Warnings

Prior to a tornado event you will most likely hear of thunderstorm watches and warnings and also tornado watches and warnings. To understand these announcements it is important to understand the four main terms: thunderstorm, tornado, watch, and warning.



A thunderstorm is a characterized by conditions of heavy rain, lightening, and thunder, often with heavy winds, and often with hail.



Often spawned within thunderstorms tornados are identified by their high-speed winds that circle in a funnel pattern.



A watch is issued when the conditions are right for a thunderstorm or tornado to develop.



A warning is issued when either the thunderstorm or tornado are spotted on radar or reported by spotters.


When to Take Action

As soon as you hear about a thunderstorm watch you should rehearse your plans. Make sure you know where your shoes or boots, helmet, heavy clothes, and flashlight are located. Think through where you will take shelter and how you will get there. Identify where family members are and make sure they are prepared on a moments notice to get to shelter. Bring in your pets. Keep them close so you don’t waste time looking for them when the watch turns to warning.


When a tornado watch is issued put on your shoes or boots, kennel your pets or get them on their leashes, gather your other protective items and be ready to move to shelter immediately.


If you are in a tornado watch and the conditions become concerning to you, or when a tornado warning is issued immediately move to shelter.



Perception is Reality

Perception is Reality

Perhaps it is more true to say that perception parades as reality.

The Power of Perception

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein

We commonly see the power of perception in the acts of great illusionists. From the mundane to the fantastic we have see illusions of people cut in half and restored, to vanishing cars, planes, and elephants. We know that the reality is that no one was actually cut in half and that the objects did not vanish. However, for a moment our minds struggle to wrap around the enormity of the perception created by the illusionist.

The same principle is true in our everyday lives. How we perceive our world has the power to influence what we think is the reality of our world. As a simplified example take the illusion of the disappearing coin. The illusionist places a large coin (i.e. a fifty cent piece) in the palm of their hand and leaving their hand open covers it with a small cloth. He then allows the people standing around him to reach under the cloth and touch the coin to verify that it is still really in the palm of his hand. After the bystanders have verified that the coin is still in the palm of his hand, one of the bystanders gently removes the cloth… and the coin is gone. This is then done in reverse and the coin returns. The perception is that the illusionist has made the coin disappear and reappear “magically” from the palm of his hand. Our minds struggle with this perception, knowing that there must be some form of trick. Surely what we see, our perception can’t actually be reality.

The Problem with Perception

The problem with our perception is that it is commonly filtered through the lenses of our experiences, emotions, and biases. As such the actions of others can easily be misinterpreted. In other words the reality of others actions can be radically different from our perception of those same actions. In the same way our perception of our status, role, and acceptance in a group can be radically different from the reality of what each individual in a group actually perceives our status, role, or acceptance.

The most common problem in the struggle of perception in a group is the self-fulfilling prophecy. We perceive that our status in the group is that we are unimportant. We perceive that our role in the group has been relegated to the unimportant. We perceive that we are not accepted as one of the core members. With these perceptions we act in a corresponding manner. The result is that regardless of the actual reality of the initial situation we end up in the reality of the initial perception.

It is often because of the perception of an individual’s status, capability, or potential that potential opportunities are limited or not offered. This robs not only the individual who has missed the fullness of an opportunity but also those who may have benefited from the potential of the results that may have come from the individual having had the opportunity.

Aligning Perception and Reality

We need to keep a very tight grasp on reality so as to not lose squander opportunity to the illusion that is perception. To achieve this we must invest in knowing and understanding our team members and ourselves. This is accomplished by moving past any bias or rumor, and confident action that is devoid of the jaundice of emotion. Direct conversation, honest questions, and honest answers are key in parting the veil of the illusion of perception.

We move past perception and to the ability to positively affect someone’s life when we act in reality. The reality is:

• Not everyone agrees with us, believes the way we believe, or holds the same values as we hold.
• Someone’s disagreement with us is not necessarily an offense or threat.
• It is not our job to prove that we are right and someone else is wrong. It is our job to serve.
• We serve God not man. God judges the hearts of men and calls them. Therefore, we are to work in service of God, serving others without regard as to their alignment with our beliefs.
• We are to stay true to our beliefs and demonstrate the reality of our relationship with God through Jesus through our service and actions.
• The reality is that we all have failed God and are not worth of a relationship with Him (Romans 3:23).
• God has prepared a way for all people, in spite of their spiritual state or beliefs, to have relationship with Him (John 3:16-17, Romans 5:8).

We live in reality when we acknowledge who we are in Christ act in accordance with His Word.