Lansing Community College

Emergency preparedness: Staying safe during spring storms

Tornado barrels across a pastoral landscape, while lightning flashes

As we head toward warmer months, please review these tips for staying safe during spring’s severe weather.



Prepare now: First, understand the difference between a tornado watch and tornado warning. A watch is often issued several hours in advance, covering a large area where the conditions are right for the development of a tornado.

A warning, on the other hand, is issued for a highly localized area – often just one town or city – where a tornado has been seen or detected on radar. Warnings are often issued only minutes before a tornado hits, and are an urgent call to seek shelter.

Survive during: Second, learn about LCC’s shelter locations. Shelter maps are posted on every floor of every building. In general, you are looking for a small, interior, windowless room on the lowest level. The moments after a tornado warning are not the time to introduce yourself to the college’s shelter maps! Do it today.

If you are at home when a tornado warning is issued, go to a basement or another room without windows on the lowest level. A bathroom, hallway or closet can be good choices. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outdoors.

Once you are in your identified shelter, shield your head and neck with your arms. You can also put furniture and blankets around you. Do not try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle. Get inside whenever possible.

Stay safe after: After a tornado passes, stay clear of fallen power lines and do not enter damaged buildings. Keep phone lines clear, and instead use text messaging or social media to communicate with family and friends. If you are trapped, cover your mouth with a cloth to avoid breathing dust, and try to send a text, bang on a pipe or wall, or whistle to attract attention.



Prepare now: Long before a storm begins, you can help protect your home from damage. Remove dead trees or limbs that are in danger of falling on your home. Prepare for power outages by keeping your phone charged, flashlights on-hand, and pantry stocked with non-perishable food.

Survive during: When you receive a severe thunderstorm warning, or hear thunder in the distance, go indoors immediately. If boating or swimming, get out of the water and find shelter. If you have to, take shelter in a car, but do not touch anything metal. During a storm, do not use anything that plugs into the wall, and avoid using running water.

Stay safe after: If anyone is struck by lightning, call 911 immediately. Check for breathing and a heartbeat. It is OK to perform first aid; the victim will not carry an electrical charge. After a storm has passed, stay off flooded roadways. You should also watch for fallen power lines and trees, and report them immediately.


Learn more about household preparedness at and LCC preparedness at


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