Saline Fire Chief Urges Residents to Have Plan for Tornadoes

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 04/28/2017 - 11:21
Homes were destroyed by a tornado that struck Dexter in 2012

What’s your family’s plan if Saline experiences a March 15?

Saline Area Fire Chief Craig Hoeft wants everyone in Saline to have a plan.

“Every family has a plan if there’s a fire. You get out of the house and meet by the tree. But do you have a plan if there’s a tornado?” Hoeft asked.

Hoeft and other Saline firefighters responded to the tornado destroyed homes in Dexter’s Huron Meadows subdivision shortly after a 2012 storm. He saw homes ripped from their foundation and other houses ripped in half.

“There were houses half missing. You could see right into them. The lights were still on. It looked like a doll house,” Hoeft recalled. “As we went door-to-door, many family were still in their basements afraid to come up. I can only imagine how scary it would be in your basement, hearing a tornado rip your house apart up above.”

After that storm, emergency response officials credited tornado sirens for alerting residents.

Hoeft said, it's important that people develop a plan.

"People need to be ready. We need to be prepared," Hoeft said.

The City of Saline has designated City Hall, 100 N. Harris St., as a tornado shelter.

Here are tornado safety tips from

Preparing for a Tornado

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.
  • Be alert to changing weather conditions. Look for approaching storms.
  • Look for the following danger signs:
    • 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 approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.

During a Tornado

If you are in a structure:

  • 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.
  • In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
  • Put on sturdy shoes.
  • Do not open windows.

If you are in a trailer or mobile home

  • 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. In the city, residents can take shelter at city hall.

If you are outdoors:

  • Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.
  • If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park.
  • Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
  • If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands
  • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
  • 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 debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.


Tran Longmoore's picture
Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is a veteran community journalist. He is founder and owner of He is co-publisher of The Saline Post weekly newspaper. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 734-272-6294.

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