With tornado season approaching, the Belvidere Fire Department wants to remind the community about these storm safety tips from the American Red Cross

Know the difference:

A tornado watch means a tornado is possible.

A tornado warning means a tornado is already occurring or will occur soon. Go to your safe place immediately.

Protecting your family:

Talk about tornadoes with your family so that everyone knows where to go if a tornado warning is issued. Discussing ahead of time helps reduce fear, especially for younger children.

Make sure you have access to NOAA radio broadcasts, either through streaming an online NOAA radio station, downloading a NOAA radio app in the Apple Store or Google Play, or purchasing a battery-

Tornadoes are violent: they can completely destroy well-made structures, uproot trees and hurl objects through the air like deadly missiles. Although severe tornadoes are most common in the Plains States, they can happen anywhere. Learn what to do to keep your loved ones safe.

Top Tips:

Identify a safe place in your home where household members and pets will gather during a tornado: a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.

In a high-rise building, pick a hallway in the center of the building. You may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor.

In a mobile home, choose a safe place in a nearby sturdy building. If your mobile home park has a designated shelter, make it your safe place. No mobile home, however it is configured, is safe in a tornado.

Right before a tornado:

Don’t wait until you see the tornado to act. If you do nothing else:

  1. Listen to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates.
  2. Move to an underground shelter, basement, or safe room. If none is available, a small, windowless, interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is the safest alternative.

Remember: no area of a mobile home is safe during a tornado. If you have access to a sturdy shelter or a vehicle, go there immediately, using your seat belt if driving.

  1. Find a local emergency shelter and know the best routes to get there if you need to.

Then, if you can, do this:

Watch for tornado danger signs: dark, often greenish clouds – a phenomenon caused by hail; wall cloud – an isolated lowering of the base of a thunderstorm; cloud of debris.

Move or secure any of the items on your list of items to bring inside or anything else that can be picked up by the wind.

Bring your companion animals indoors and maintain direct control of them.

If you are outdoors during a tornado:

Seek shelter in a basement, shelter or sturdy building.

If you cannot quickly walk to a shelter, immediately get into a vehicle and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. Remember to buckle your seat belt.

Stay away from bridge/highway overpasses.

If strong winds and flying debris occurs while driving, pull over and park, keeping your seat belt on and engine running. Put your head down below the windows, covering your head with your hands and a blanket.

After the storm:

Let friends and family know you’re safe. – Register yourself as safe on the Safe and Well website

If evacuated, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.

Continue listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions.

Check for injuries. If you are trained, provide first aid to persons in need until emergency responders arrive.