How to Prepare for Tornadoes

How to Prepare for Tornadoes in Nichols Hills

Itís important to stay weather aware year-round, particularly in May, when tornado chances increase in Nichols Hills and Oklahoma City.

Having a tornado plan and constantly communicating that plan to your family and friends can be your key to survival. Hereís information that can help you protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of these powerful storms.

Monitor weather conditions

Wherever you are during a severe weather threat, be sure to be aware of the weather and have different ways to get information.

At least one method should work without electricity, without batteries and without a cellular or Wi-Fi signal, such as a weather radio with a hand-powered crank. Go to NOAA Weather Radio and your local news organizations or official social media accounts for emergency information. 

Outdoor warning sirens

Nichols Hills has 2 outdoor warning sirens citywide. 

When the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning, they draw a polygon on a map showing where the storm is and where it is believed to be heading. The City then activates all the sirens. 

Although the sirens can often be heard indoors, their primary purpose is to alert people who are outside that a tornado threat is nearby. 

  • If you hear a siren, take shelter immediately and get more information about the storm.
  • The outdoor warning sirens sound in and near areas where the National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning or there has been a credible report of a tornado.
  • There is no all-clear signal.
  • When the sirens stop, it does not indicate the threat of a tornado has passed. 
  • Sirens are activated as new or additional threats are detected.
  • Even if you normally can hear a siren inside your home, you may not during a noisy thunderstorm because of wind and rain. 

Unless thereís a threat of severe weather, the sirens will be tested at noon on Saturdays. Anyone who hears them reports a bell like sound during testing.

Tornado safety

  • Get inside a well-constructed building and seek shelter if a tornado is nearby. Flying debris is the greatest danger.
  • Vehicles and manufactured homes are the most dangerous places to be in a tornado. Many deaths are attributable to being inside a vehicle or manufactured home when a tornado strikes.
  • If you're driving when a tornado threat is nearby, get to the closest well-constructed building to take shelter. Never attempt to outrun a tornado by driving.
  • The safest place to be is a storm shelter built to FEMA guidelines and ICC 500 standards or a basement.
  • If there's no storm shelter, get to the innermost room, hallway or closet on the lowest level of the building. Put as many walls between you and the outside as possible and stay away from windows and doors. Most houses provide life-saving protection from 98 percent of tornadoes in Oklahoma. 
  • Wear a helmet and/or use pillows, cushions and thick blankets for additional protection. Wear sturdy shoes that will protect your feet if you have to walk through debris.
  • If you have a storm shelter at your home, register it with the Fire Department so emergency crews know where to find you in a disaster.
  • Nichols Hills doesn't have public tornado shelters.  

Make a plan

Talk about tornadoes with your family. You may not be with your loved ones when disaster strikes, so itís important to have a plan about how and where youíll reconnect. 

Take into consideration what you will do if there is spotty or non-existent cell service. Visit and use their form to create a Family Emergency Communication Plan. Make sure everyone understands the plan and review it on days there is a higher chance of severe storms. You canít overcommunicate with your family and friends. 

Visit with your childís school about their tornado plan and donít forget to make a plan for your pets. 

Build a kit

An emergency supply kit can help you survive on your own for several days after an emergency. Build a kit that you and your family can survive on for 72 hours. includes items your household depends on like medicine, water, an extra cell phone battery, a weather radio, flashlight and extra batteries, a first aid kit, infant formula and diapers and pet food. 

Register your storm shelter

Is your storm shelter registered with Oklahoma City and is your contact information up to date? If not, log on to the City website and click the ďregister my storm shelterĒ link under the visitor heading at the top of the page. The Storm Shelter Registry is a free, voluntary service that allows you to provide information about your storm shelter so police, fire and emergency responders can find you in case of an emergency. If you donít have internet access, just call the Fire Department at (405) 843-8526. 


Resist the urge to rush to the scene of a disaster to help until the local community has requested volunteers. Self-deployment of unaffiliated responders can create another level of chaos in an already complex and dangerous environment. 

How to help

When disaster strikes, the best way to support people affected by the disaster is by making cash donations to reputable organizations responding to the disaster. Cash donations allow relief organizations or survivors to purchase what they need, when and where they need it. Buying supplies locally helps local businesses and keeps tax revenues in the community.


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