Tornado Season Preparedness

Preparing for a Tornado

A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from the base of a thunderstorm down to the ground, capable of completely destroying well-made structures, uprooting trees, and hurling objects through the air like deadly missiles.

Although tornadoes are most common in the Central Plains and the southeastern United States, they can occur at any time of day or night, at any time of the year, and have been reported in all 50 states.

Tornado Watch: Be Prepared! Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. The watch area is typically large, covering numerous counties or even states. Watches are issued by the Storm Prediction Center for counties where tornadoes may occur. Acting early helps to save lives!

Tornado Warning: Take Action! A tornado has been sighted or indicated by local weather radar and there is imminent danger to life and property. Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building, avoiding windows. Warnings typically encompass a much smaller area (around the size of a city or small county) and identified by a forecaster or trained spotter/law enforcement who is watching the storm.


Don't let Tornadoes take you by surprise!

Be Weather-Ready: Check the forecast regularly to see if you’re at risk for tornadoes. Listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about tornado watches and warnings.

Sign Up for Notifications: Know how your community sends warnings. Some communities have outdoor sirens. Others depend on media and smart phones to alert residents of severe storms capable of producing tornadoes.

Create a Communications Plan: Have a family plan that includes an emergency meeting place and related information. If you live in a mobile home or home without a basement, identify a nearby safe building you can get too quickly, such as a church or family member.

Pick a safe room in your home, such as a basement, storm cellar, or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.

Practice Your Plan: Conduct a family severe thunderstorm drill regularly so everyone knows what to do if a tornado is approaching. Make sure all members of your family know to go there when tornado warnings are issued. Don’t forget pets if time allows.

Prepare Your Home: Consider having your safe room reinforced to provide better protection.

Help Your Neighbor: Encourage your loved ones to prepare for the possibility of tornadoes. Take CPR training so you can help if someone is hurt.

What to do when a tornado strikes

Stay Weather-Ready

Continue to listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay updated about tornado watches and warnings.

At Your House

If you are in a tornado warning, go to your basement, safe room, or an interior room away from windows. Don’t forget pets if time allows.

At Your Workplace or School

Follow your tornado drill and proceed to your tornado shelter location quickly and calmly. Stay away from windows and do not go to large open rooms such as cafeterias, gymnasiums, or auditoriums.


Seek shelter inside a sturdy building immediately if a tornado is approaching. Sheds and storage facilities are not safe. Neither is a mobile home or tent. If you have time, get to a safe building.

In a vehicle

Being in a vehicle during a tornado is not safe. The best course of action is to drive to the closest shelter. If you are unable to make it to a safe shelter, either get down in your car and cover your head, or abandon your car and seek shelter in a low lying area such as a ditch or ravine.

What to do after a tornado occurs

Stay Informed

Continue to listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay updated about tornado watches and warnings. Multiple rounds of thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes are possible during severe weather outbreaks.

Contact Your Family and Loved Ones

Let your family and close friends know that you’re okay so they can help spread the word. Text messages or social media are more reliable forms of communication than phone calls.

Assess the Damage

After the threat for tornadoes has ended, check to see if your property has been damaged. When walking through storm damage, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and sturdy shoes. Contact local authorities if you see power lines down. Stay out of damaged buildings. Be aware of insurance scammers if your property has been damaged.

Help Your Neighbor

If you come across people that are injured and you are properly trained, provide first aid to victims if needed until emergency response teams arrive.

Important emergency preparation steps all Mid-Cities Medical patients should follow:

    1. Review all available safety components.
    2. Create and have an evacuation plan for your residence.
    3. Take as much oxygen and ventilation equipment with you, should you need to evacuate.
    4. Contact Mid-Cities Medical for emergency assistance and setup. You will need to provide us with your evacuation address and contact details.
      • Texas – 1 (888) 450-6676
      • CA & AZ – 1 (833) 986-4267

    If you have any oxygen or ventilation preparation questions during these ongoing events, or need emergency assistance, please contact our offices:

VISN 17 – Texas

Mid-Cities Medical – 1 (888) 450-6676

North Texas serviced from Grand Prairie, TX
Central Texas serviced from Woodway, TX & Austin, TX
South Texas serviced from San Antonio, TX
Valley Coastal Bend service from Corpus Christi & Mercedes, TX

VISN 22 – Arizona

Mid-Cities Medical – 1 (833) 986-4267

Phoenix serviced from Gilbert, AZ
Prescott serviced by Calox from Prescott, AZ
Show Low serviced from Show Low, AZ
Tucson serviced from Tucson, AZ

VISN 22 – Southern California

Mid-Cities Medical – 1 (833) 986-4267

Loma Linda serviced from Redland, CA
San Diego serviced from San Diego, CA

CalOx Inc. – 1 (866) 519-2414

Los Angeles serviced from Los Angeles, CA
Long Beach serviced from Los Angeles, CA

Emergency Resources

Tornadoes are violently rotating columns of air that extend from a thunderstorm to the ground, destroying buildings, flipping cars, and creating deadly flying debris. Protect yourself and your family by staying informed with local forecasts, having a preparedness plan, and heeding guidance from local emergency management officials.

national weather service