Although tornadoes occur in many parts of the world, they are more frequent in the United States. On average, 1,200 tornadoes cause 70 fatalities and 1,500 injuries nationwide each year. A tornado’s path of destruction can be more than one mile wide and 50 miles long and can devastate a neighborhood in seconds. Tornadoes can occur at any time of the year; however, in the southern states, peak tornado season is March through May. In the northern states, peak tornado season is June through August.*

Use this IAFF public safety toolkit to help keep your community safe and up to date on tornado safety, especially if your local exists in a typical tornado zone. Promoting public safety can help build relationships with your community, city leaders, local businesses, the media and civic groups, and help boost your public image and influence how you are perceived by decision makers and the public.

Contact [email protected] with any comments or questions about using IAFF toolkits.

The Media
Local media are always in search of “ready-made news” — especially short, timely public-safety pieces. This press release has been written specifically for your local — just plug in your local’s name and a spokesperson. Email the release to local media and let them know you are available. Your efforts will continue to establish your local as the voice of public safety within the community.

Talking Points
When approached by the media or when giving a press conference, it helps to have a set of clear, easily remembered phrases (talking points) that outline your local’s general advice and stance on certain public safety issues. Below are a variety to choose from for tornado safety:

  • During a tornado – people should remember to DUCK: Get down to the lowest level, under something sturdy, cover your head and keep in shelter until the storm has passed.
  • Practice tornado drills at home and school. Know your community’s tornado alert system.
  • Have a plan for how your family members will contact one another during an emergency.
  • During a tornado, remain inside, away from windows and doors.
  • After a tornado, stay away from power lines. If you smell gas, evacuate and contact the authorities.

Posts for Facebook/Twitter:

  • During a tornado – remember to DUCK: Get down to the lowest level, under something sturdy, cover your head and keep in shelter until the storm has passed. #IAFFSafetyTips
  • Always make sure to check your gas lines for leaks that can cause home fires when met with a tornado. #IAFFSafetyTips
  • It’s really easy for debris to ignite when combined with incorrectly used generators and live wires during or after a tornado. Keep your home up to code, especially if you live in a tornado zone! #IAFFSafetyTips
  • If you’ve been evacuated from your home because of a tornado, fire fighters urge you not to return until officials have declared it safe. #IAFFSafetyTips
  • It never hurts to buy a generator in case of a power outage during a tornado. #IAFFSafetyTips
  • ​After a tornado, remember to clean up any gasoline spills and smell/listen for gas leaks. #IAFFSafetyTips