Sample Tornado Plan

Tornado Action Plan (Sample Plan to print out and complete.)

Here is a completed Tornado Action Plan for productions in Atlanta, GA

Production will monitor the local news, National Weather Service ( or the National Hurricane Center ( on a daily basis for any signs of severe weather.


A tornado is a violent windstorm characterized by twisting, funnel shaped wind spawned from powerful thunderstorms. Tornados tend to appear in the afternoon or early evening, but are unpredictable and may form without warning.

Potential Hazards:

  • Tornados are nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms within the tunnel
  • Winds can exceed 200 to 300 mph
  • The precise location of a touch down point cannot be determined
  • Have the ability to move in all directions


Create an action plan when preparing to use locations that may present an inclement or severe weather hazard. This action plan should include the following:

  • A designated person who is responsible for monitoring potential inclement weather by commercial weather services, radio station news casts such as the NOAA Weather Radio,, or local television news
  • A method for communication with cast and crew members in the event of inclement or severe weather. The communication methods should reflect the conditions and circumstances at the
  • Site specific procedures which include methods and routes of evacuation, meeting areas, a means of establishing a head count for cast and crew members and procedures for equipment shutdown, stowage and/or removal. Illinois has their own Emergency Management Agency (information below) which may be able to offer insight on possible evacuation
  • A safety meeting shall be held to review and communicate the elements of the action

Know the terms and danger signs:

Tornado Watch– indicates a tornado is possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, local news casts, or commercial weather services for information.

Tornado Warning– signifies a tornado has been sighted or is indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.

Danger Signs:

  • Approaching storms
  • Dark, often greenish sky
  • Large hail
  • A Large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
  • Loud roar, similar to a freight train

If you see any of the danger signs, and/or a tornado watch/warning has been issued, be prepared to initiate the action plan and seek shelter immediately!


  • If a watch or warning has been issued, the action plan should be activated
  • The crew should be regularly updated regarding any changes to potential weather conditions
  • All cast and crew members must follow all instructions given
  • No employees should be working on elevated equipment. This includes aerial lifts, scaffolds, camera booms, and other high areas
  • Evacuate the area immediately if instructed by a regulatory authority or production management
  • Only secure equipment if there is time and it can be done safely

If you are in: 

  • A structure (e.g. residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building), then:
    • Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level.
    • If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls.
    • Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
    • Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
    • Do not open windows.
  • A vehicle, trailer, or mobile home, then:
    • Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter.
    • Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.
  • The outside with no shelter, then:
    • Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your
    • Be aware of the potential for
    • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat
    • Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter. Watch out for flying
    • Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.