Once a tornado has swept through, causing damage in your area, there are hazards that you need to be aware of so that you and others around you will stay safe. Sometimes people get so caught up in the damages, or are ecstatic for still being alive, they don’t stop to think about other dangers from the aftermath.
The very first thing to look for is anyone in your area that is hurt. Administer basic first aid and alert 911 so that emergency services can be enroute. If there are serious injuries, call for medical assistance immediately. Try to stop bleeding my applying pressure to wounds until an ambulance arrives.
Downed power lines are something that should be avoided until local utility companies arrive. Call and report the down power lines, but do not touch them. If they are alive, touching one could kill someone. If your home is damaged and you know how, shut off utilities such as electric, water, and/or gas. Be aware of gas fumes or anything burning and notify authorities while moving far away from the damages.
Stay away from damaged structures. More than likely, they are unstable and should be avoided until the local Emergency Management officers determine they are safe. With heavy wind and debris damage, sometimes what might look like a stable building could fall over or cave in after the dust has settled.
Be on the lookout for displaced animals. Sometimes animals seek out shelter to get away from rising water or get carried by tornado winds and end up in places that they are unfamiliar with. Animals such as cats, dogs, and wildlife (i.e. snakes) will be disoriented and may strike out against anyone, even if someone might be trying to help them.
While this is not a comprehensive list of things to be aware of, we hope it serves as a reminder to always be watchful not only before and during a tornado, but to know what to look for after a tornado has caused damages. In the aftermath if you are in need of tornado relief, here is some more information that can help.