We have all read long lists of things to do in the case of various disaster scenarios. However, it is often avoiding what you should NOT do that can mean the difference between life and death or safety and injury. So here is a list of what NOT to do if a tornado is bearing down on you:
1) DON'T try to outrun a tornado.How fast do tornadoes move? The typical tornado may move at about 10 - 20 to miles per hour, but some tornadoes move at 60 miles per hour or more. Tyring to outrun a tornado on foot or in a vehicle is a dangerous move. Instead seek safe shelter immediately.
2) DON'T stay in a car, trailer, or mobile home (even if its tied down).
These simply provide little to no protection from the up to 300 mile per hour winds that a severe tornado may generate. Get out, get to a more sturdy shelter, or lie flat (and cover your head) in any depression you can find. The bottom line is that you will do better in the open lying flat than you will inside what will likely become a projectile or simply disintegrate. The pictures tell the story best.
Oh and don't try to take cover under the car, trailer, or mobile home. Get away from them so they don't hit you when the winds sweep them away.
3) DON'T stand there watching the tornado or filming it. Get away from the window. Put the video camera or cell phone cam down and value your life more than you do a few seconds of fame on the internet or with your friends. Seconds can matter. If a tornado is heading your way, take cover! Avoid the deer in the headlights reaction.
4) If you are outdoors, DON'T seek shelter around trees, vehicles, or other things that can become airborne projectiles. Get to safe and sturdy shelter or lie down in the best gully, ditch, or depression you can find and cover your head. Things will be flying - even heavy things - so keep yourself as flat as possible. Flying debris cause the majority or fatalities and injuries in a tornado. Stay away from things that can blow apart or blow onto you.
5) DON'T take cover under a bridge or overpass. The reality is that in a tornado winds can actually accelerate under such structures and the structures themselves can come apart and create deadly debris. Also, you will probably be violating the "stay away from cars" rule as you will likely have your own vehicle there as well as those of others who did not read this list of things NOT to do in a tornado.
Do you have any "DON'TS" to add to the list? Please comment and add to my list of things NOT to do in a tornado.
The 10 most destructive tornadoes in U.S. history span 131 years and 10states (Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Texas, Georgia, Mississippi, Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Wisconsin). The worst of these tornadoes (The Tri-State Tornado of 1925) traveled 219 miles and killed about 690 people across three states.
What do you do in an earthquake? If you are indoors the simple answer is, "DROP, COVER, HOLD ON." Specifically... DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.
The natural tendency is to want to run outdoors. However, the greatest danger in an earthquake is from falling objects. these can be items indoors like book shelves, ceiling fixtures, and other items. In an attempt to flee, one may be injured by such items. Additionally many injuries and deaths occur as the fascia of buildings crumble and fall on people attempting to exit a crumbling building.
Here is a more complete list of "what to do in an earthquake" that addresses several different scenarios that one might find themselves in when an earthquake strikes. This list is adapted from advice given by the Southern California Earthquake Center.
If you are...
Indoors: Drop, cover, and hold on. Drop to the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on to it tightly. Hang on in this position until the shaking stops. If you are not near a desk or table, drop to the floor against an interior wall and protect your head and neck with your arms. Avoid exterior walls, windows, hanging objects, mirrors, tall furniture, large appliances, and kitchen cabinets with heavy objects or glass. Do not go outside!
In bed: If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow. You are less likely to be injured staying where you are. Broken glass on the floor can cause injury to those who have rolled to the floor or tried to get to doorways to escape.
In a high-rise: Drop, cover, and hold on. Avoid windows and other hazards. Do not use elevators.
Outdoors: Carefully move to a clear area if you can safely do so; avoid power lines, trees, signs, buildings, vehicles, and other hazards. Essentially, get away from things that may fall on you.
Driving: Pull over to the side of the road, stop, and set the parking brake. Avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking stops. If a power line falls on the car, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.
In a stadium or theater: Stay at your seat and protect your head and neck with your arms. Don't try to leave until the shaking is over. Then walk out slowly watching for anything that could fall in the aftershocks.
Near the shore: Drop, cover and hold on until the shaking stops. Estimate how long the shaking lasts. If severe shaking lasts 20 seconds or more, immediately evacuate to high ground as a tsunami might have been generated by the earthquake. Move inland 3 kilometers (2 miles) or to land that is at least 30 meters (100 feet) above sea level immediately. Don't wait for officials to issue a warning. Walk quickly, rather than drive, to avoid traffic, debris and other hazards.
Below a dam: Dams can fail during a major earthquake. Catastrophic failure is unlikely, but if you live downstream from a dam, you should know flood-zone information and have prepared an evacuation plan. Be prepared to evacuate.
Because of the earthquake risks associated with the New Madrid fault, if you live in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, or Tennessee you need to be prepared for a severe earthquake. The ShakOut is an earthqauke response exercise to be held on April 28, 2011 at 10:15 a.m.. Very simply, at that appointed hour, those involved in the drill will DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON. The point is to teach us each how to protect ourselves in the event of an earthquake.
I am concerned to find that there are at least 32 Asian nuclear reactors in operation or under construction that are at risk for tsunami damage. As does the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, five nuclear plants in China and Taiwan lie near subduction zones (areas at risk for very large earthquakes and tsunamis) and as a Univeristy of Minnesota professor says,"We have to assume they'll be hit."
For the 5 Chinese and Taiwanese nuclear plants the real worry is the Manila Trench. This subduction area is facing a growing risk for a major earthquake as tremendous pressure and stresses are building. The last major earthquake in the Manila Trench happened about 440 years ago.
A 9.0 magnitude earthquake in the Manila Trench could trigger tsunamis 15 to 24 feet high. These monster tsunamis would be expected to hit each of the 5 nuclear power plants in China and Taiwan. Unfortuantely, the Japanese nuclear disaster is likely not going to be the last one ever caused by a tsunami.
As always, the bottom line is that multiple risks for disaster exist in our modern society. Some are man-made, some are natural, and many come from a combination of natural and man-made risk factors. It seems that the "combination" risks are among the greatest. So please prepare for any man-made or natural disaster.
As I read about the strong aftershock following the 9.0 Japan earthquake, I was interested to see that it lasted about 1 minute. Watching some video of office workers in Tokyo holding on to their computer equipment to keep it from tumbling over, I was impressed by how very long the quake seemed to last. As I thought about the earthquakes I have experienced, I realized that most seemed to last for less than 30 seconds. This cause me to ask myself, "How long does and earthquake usually last?"
Here are some of the interesting answers that I found in my web search (as usual, the answer seems to be "it depends" and "it can vary widely"):
Is it really helpful to know how long an earthquake may last? Well, if you are not used to experiencing earthquakes, it may indeed be helpful to have an idea of how long any given quake can last. For one thing, it can reduce the shock of the experience to realize that the quake may last longer than just a few seconds. It amy also help in making key decisions and judgements about how to respond to the earthquake.
The bottom line, is that earthquakes are destructive and can last well beyond just a few seconds of shaking. So if you live in earthquake country (and many more of us do than actually realize that fact) be prepared for an earthquake with the right understanding of what to do in an earthquake and with an earthquake survival kit.