How to Create a Tornado Emergency Plan

 In Blog

Does your business have a tornado emergency plan? Your company has a better chance of weathering a storm when you create and practice safe work practices. Your plan needs to be detailed and customized for your factory, warehouse or office.

Why Your Business Needs a Tornado Emergency Plan

Air masses clashing over Missouri every spring generate thunderstorms. April and May are primetime for these light, wind and rain shows, but they can happen any time of the year. When Mother Nature really gets whipped up, she throws down a tornado.

Missouri averages 30 tornados a year. 2010, a banner year for storms, saw a whopping 65 of these violent whirlwinds. Tornado Alley, running through our neighboring states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska, leads the world in producing twisters.

How to Create a Tornado Emergency Plan

A thorough plan includes these three safeguards: shelter, method to account for workers, and guidelines for hazardous materials.

While the following steps focus on the workplace, consider helping employees develop a plan for home. You can learn more about tornado safety by reading the Centers for Disease Controls tornado information.

1. Shelter

Below ground areas such as basements and cellars are safest during a tornado. If no underground spaces are available, other areas that may proof safe are:

  • Small, interior rooms and hallways on ground floors.
  • Specially designed safe rooms.
  • Windowless rooms built with reinforced concrete, brick or blocks.
  • Structures with no windows, concrete floors and a heavy roof.

Places to avoid sheltering:

  • Structures with flat, wide-span roofs.
  • Areas with windows and doors.
  • Spaces with exterior walls.

If your facility doesn’t have a suitable shelter, consider hiring a general commercial contractor to make safety modifications to your building.

2. Worker Accountability
Communicating with and keeping track of employees and visitors is a vital component of an emergency plan. You should know who is in your facility at all times. Perhaps you already have sign-in sheets and ways of keeping track of personnel. You can further develop these systems for emergencies. Here are more ways to account of people during a tornado:

  • Have an alarm system that alerts everyone on the premises of an impending tornado. Test the system regularly.
  • Post signs in your building that outline the plan, location of shelters and escape routes.
  • Have a system, such as a roster, to keep track of people in the emergency shelter.
  • Establish a safety leader and group of employees. Assign responsibilities to each person. Build redundancy into the plan by having safety alternates.
  • Regularly hold employee safety training and drills.

3. Recovery
About 50 percent of tornado-related injuries happen during recovery and cleanup according to the Centers for Disease Control. Make sure your employees are well versed in the potential hazards surrounding storm recovery.

Danger lurks in sharp debris and electrical hazards. Many injuries occur as a result of falling from high places or on slippery walkways. Workers may also face dangerously hot conditions. Your emergency plan should include recovery protocol and information describing how to secure sites before picking up the pieces to continue work.

Missouri’s Commercial Construction Experts

Storee constructs strong buildings and makes existing ones safer. Partner with us today by contacting us for a consultation.