Media warnings can help prevent tornado injuries: study

Vienna – Warnings and safety advice on television and social media can help people survive tornadoes, concludes a study from the Medical University of Vienna.

Researchers analyzed injuries treated at hospitals following a series of tornadoes in Alabama in April 2011, and found that injuries were less likely among people who heeded warnings to take shelter in a basement, bathroom, hallway or closet. People who received tornado warnings from the Internet, television or sirens were less likely to be injured, especially those who had frequently been exposed to tornado sirens, researchers found.

Media was able to warn viewers of where the tornado was headed, which researchers noted is only possible to do minutes before a tornado strikes. The media also warned people about tornado-related hazards in the aftermath of the storm.

The study was published online Dec. 18 in the journal PLOS ONE.