Putting Safety First After a Tornado

Agricultural Disaster Preparedness and Recovery November 09, 2016 Print Friendly and PDF

Tornado damage.

Tornadoes and extreme wind events are very destructive. Everything in their paths--people, animals, homes, businesses, vehicles, landscapes--can be killed, destroyed or damaged in a matter of moments. Following such an event can be equally dangerous. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note it was observed in a Marion, IL case study, that half of the injuries occurred following the tornado.

Use safety precautions to avoid injury when you inspect for damage and begin cleaning up.

  • Continue to listen to your battery-powered or crank radio or television for emergency information.
  • Cooperate with public safety officials.
  • If you can stay in your home, but you don't have power, use battery-powered lanterns, if possible. If you use candles, make sure they are in safe holders away from flammable objects such as curtains, paper or wood.
  • Wear heavy pants and log sleeve shirt.
  • Use heavy work gloves or leather gloves.
  • Wear durable work boots with intact soles and steel toes if possible. DO NOT wear sneakers or open-toed shoes.
  • Be aware of structural, electrical, or gas-leak hazards, as well as broken glass, exposed nails, and other hazards.
  • DO NOT touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines.
  • Have on hand impact-resistant safety glasses and wear them when working with power tools. Some power tools may require additional protection.
  • Tetanus booster shots are recommended every 10 years. If you receive a puncture wound during clean-up, see your doctor.


Also see After a Tornado from the CDC.

For tips in Spanish, see Después de un tornado

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.