What you should do after a tornado while inspecting damage and helping the injured

Posted at 3:47 PM, Feb 18, 2013
and last updated 2014-04-27 11:37:54-04

TULSA - Do you know what to do after a tornado has come through?

How do you help the injured?

How do you ensure your own safety?

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a recent study showed that 50 percent of the tornado-related injuries after a tornado swept through Marion, Illinois were suffered during rescue attempts, cleanup and other post-tornado activities. Nearly a third of those injuries were the result of someone stepping on a nail.


Check for injuries, but don't attempt to move seriously injured people unless they're in immediate danger of further injury.

Get medical assistance immediately.

If someone has stopped breathing, begin CPR if you are trained to do so.

Stop a bleeding injury by applying direct pressure to the wound. Have any puncture wound evaluated by a physician.

If you are trapped, try to attract attention to your location.


Monitor 2NEWS app and battery-powered television for emergency information.

Be careful when entering any structure that has been damaged.

Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris.

Be aware of hazards from exposed nails and broken glass.

Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.

Use battery-powered lanterns, if possible, rather than candles to light homes without electrical power. If you use candles, make sure they are in safe holders away from curtains, paper, wood or other flammable items. Never leave a candle burning when you are out of the room.

Never use generators, pressure washers, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, basement, garage or camper - or even outside near an open window, door or vent. Carbon monoxide (CO) - an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if you breathe it - from these sources can build up in your home, garage or camper and poison the people and animals inside. Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed or nauseated.

Stay off the telephone, except to report an emergency.

Do not go into damaged areas unless assistance has been requested. Your presence could hamper relief efforts and you could endanger yourself.


After a tornado, be aware of possible structural, electrical or gas-leak hazards in your home. Contact your local city or county building inspectors for information on structural safety codes and standards. They may also offer suggestions on finding a qualified contractor to do work for you.

In general, if you suspect any damage to your home, shut off electrical power, natural gas and propane tanks to avoid fire, electrocution or explosions.

If it is dark when you are inspecting your home, use a flashlight rather than a candle or torch to avoid the risk of fire or explosion in a damaged home.

If you see frayed wiring or sparks, or if there is an odor of something burning, you should immediately shut off the electrical system at the main circuit breaker if you have not done so already.

If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open all windows and leave the house immediately. Notify the gas company, the police or fire departments, or State Fire Marshal's office and do not turn on the lights, light matches, smoke or do anything that could cause a spark. Do not return to your house until you are told it is safe to do so.


Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves.

Learn proper safety procedures and operating instructions before operating any gas-powered or electric-powered saws or tools.

Clean up spilled medicines, drugs, flammable liquids and other potentially hazardous materials.

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Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency