How to Stay Safe After a Tornado

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


           The National Weather Service says the mile-wide tornado that ripped through northeast Kansas May 21 was an E-F 4, with winds of 170 miles an hour, injuring 18 people…no deaths. The strongest tornadoes are E-F 5, with winds of more than 200 miles an hour. The twister also damaged hundreds of homes, leaving a lot of people wondering…what now? What do you do in those first few minutes, hours and days after a tornado strikes?

            In the video are two experts from The University of Kansas Health System. Dr. Robert Winfield is head of the trauma department and Ted Arnett is the emergency preparedness manager. First, Dr. Winfield says about 50 percent of tornado injuries are not from the direct impact of the storm, but may occur afterward when people walk among debris and enter damaged buildings. Nearly a third of injuries result from stepping on nails. He explains the importance of immediate medical help, including stopping any bleeding. And he says having extra supplies of vital medications in your emergency kit is vital in case it’s days before you can get them replaced. And he talks about the importance of trying to keep everyone, especially children, calm and focused.

            Ted Arnett, the emergency preparedness manager at The University of Kansas Health System, says coping with disaster is the same, whether it’s for one family, or an entire hospital. He says living in Tornado Alley as we do, you need a plan, you need to practice, and you need to make sure you have the right supplies to get you through the first hours, or even days, before help arrives…and he describes those supplies. He talks about the potential hazards during cleanup, and how to stay safe. He says it’s really important to be aware of downed power lines that may still be live, and to be especially aware of broken gas lines. He says to always use a flashlight, never a candle or torch, when inspecting your home in the dark to avoid the risk of fire or explosion. He also talks about how The University of Kansas Health System, with more than 13,000 staff, patients and visitors, prepares for and would deal with a tornado strike.