NCDMPH Tornadoes

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Picture of tornadoeNCDMPH has gathered resources for health professionals for all tornados and related events. Originally developed in response to a level 5 tornadoes that struck Oklahoma City and its surrounding suburbs, these resources aim to foster resilience through learning as well as provide materials for educators. The National Center encourages all to contribute to "a nation of resilient communities" by educating yourself and others on disaster health topics related to tornadoes. Additional ideas for educators who are teaching health professionals interested in learning content or activities related to health impacts of tornadoes may be found below.

Tornado Resources


Health Impacts

-- Resources: Health Impacts of Tornadoes --

Prevention and Treatment of Injuries Following Hurricanes and Tornadoes. CDC COCA.

After a Tornado: Injuries. CDC.

Guidelines for Field Triage of Injured Patients PDF : Recommendations of the National Expert Panel on Field Triage

Head and Neck Injuries from 1990 Illinois Tornado PDF . American Journal of Public Health

Impact of a Tornado on a Community Hospital. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association

Massive Pediatric Neurosurgical Injuries and Lessons: Learned Following a Tornado Disaster in Alabama. Journal of Neurosurgery

Risk of Tornado-related Death and Injury in Oklahoma, May 3, 1999: American Journal of Epidemiology

Tornado-Related Fatalities: Five States, Southeastern United States, April 25-28, 2011. CDC.

Tornado-Related Deaths and Injuries in Oklahoma due to the 3 May 1999 Tornadoes. American Meteorological Society.

Tornadoes and Disaster Management. Canadian Medical Association Journal

Regional Health System Response to the 2007 Greensburg, Kansas, EF5 Tornado. Journal of Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness.

The April 8, 1998 Tornado: Assessment of the Trauma System Response and the Resulting Injuries. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. Full-text not available without subscription.

The Medical Impact of Tornadoes in North America. Journal of Emergency Medicine.


Psychosocial Impact

-- Resources: Psychosocial --

Tornadoes and Severe Storms. SAMHSA.

Children's Psychosocial Needs in Disasters. NCDMPH.

April 2011 Tornado Outbreak: Mental Health Resources. The Alabama Department of Mental Health.

Managing Traumatic Stress: After a Tornado. American Psychological Association.

Immediate Disaster Response: Tornadoes: Introduction. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Sustaining Caregiving and Psychological Well-Being while Caring for Disaster Victims. Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress.

Teachers Helping Students: Listening and Talking. CSTS.

Coping with Violence and Traumatic Events. SAMHSA.

Response Template Toolkit

Psychological First Aid for Schools (PFA-S). National Children Traumatic Stress Network.

Crisis, Grief, and Loss Resources for Schools. National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement.

Psychological First Aid  PDF  CSTS

Coping with Disasters, Violence and Traumatic Events NLM DIMRC

SAMHSA. Post-Disaster Retraumatization: Risk and Protective Factors.  YouTube

Community Health Recovery

Learning Objectives & Activities-Tornadoes

Ideas for Educators of Health Professionals 

Below are ideas for educators who are teaching health professionals and may wish to develop learning content or activities related to health impacts of tornadoes. These ideas should be customized based on the learners, their needs, scope of practice, and the educational context.

Options for Learning Objectives:

At the end of the learning activity, the learner will be able to:

  1. Describe the clinical, behavioral health, and public health implications of tornadoes.

  2. State ways in which health professionals can contribute to preparedness for, response to, and recovery from tornadoes given their scope of practice.

  3. Discuss how expectations from the following perspectives shape their behaviors in a tornado disaster:

    • individual

    • family (significant others)

    • organization

    • profession

    • community

Options for Learning Activities:

  1. Walk through the resources [Resilience Through Learning] online during class and discuss their applicability and utility for the learner.

  2. Lead a class discussion about the health impacts of tornadoes. Possible discussion questions are:

    • What are the distributions of injuries and deaths from tornadoes? List the top two types of injuries and describe the key risk factors.

    • What are the public health implications of tornadoes?

    • Are there unique behavioral health considerations for tornado disasters?

    • What are some gaps in our knowledge about the health impacts of tornadoes?

    • How can you as a health professional, within your scope of practice, contribute to the preparedness for, response to, and recovery from a tornado?

    • In the context of a tornado disaster, consider the following: 
      What do you expect of yourself? 
      What does your family (significant others) expect of you? 
      What does your organization expect of you? 
      What does your profession expect of you? 
      What does the community expect of you?


  3. Invite learners to work in small groups to draft a public service announcement for your county on actions citizens should take to reduce injury and death before tornado impact, and a separate public service announcement for similar safety actions after tornado impact.

  4. Volunteers in Tornado Disasters: Generate a discussion about the role of volunteers in responding to tornadoes. Does this type of disaster pose different challenges for volunteer response? Ask if any of the learners are involved in ESAR-VHP ( or Medical Reserve Corps ( If so, provide an opportunity for them to describe their involvement. Make links to these programs available to learners.

  5. Invite a member of another health profession or another specialty within your profession to discuss interprofessional coordination and collaboration necessary in response to a tornado. Discuss barriers to such interprofessional coordination and collaboration.