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Niederkrotenthaler T, Parker EM, Ovalle F, Noe RE, Bell J, Xu L, Morrison MA, Mertzlufft CE, Sugerman DE. PLoS One 2013; 8(12): e83038.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC), Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America.


(Copyright © 2013, Public Library of Science)








OBJECTIVES: We analyzed tornado-related injuries seen at hospitals and risk factors for tornado injury, and screened for post-traumatic stress following a statewide tornado-emergency in Alabama in April 2011.

METHODS: We conducted a chart abstraction of 1,398 patients at 39 hospitals, mapped injured cases, and conducted a case-control telephone survey of 98 injured cases along with 200 uninjured controls.

RESULTS: Most (nā€Š=ā€Š1,111, 79.5%) injuries treated were non-life threatening (Injury Severity Score ā‰¤15). Severe injuries often affected head (72.9%) and chest regions (86.4%). Mobile home residents showed the highest odds of injury (OR, 6.98; 95% CI: 2.10-23.20). No severe injuries occurred in tornado shelters. Within permanent homes, the odds of injury were decreased for basements (OR, 0.13; 95% CI: 0.04-0.40), bathrooms (OR, 0.22; 95% CI: 0.06-0.78), hallways (OR, 0.31; 95% CI: 0.11-0.90) and closets (OR, 0.25; 95% CI: 0.07-0.80). Exposure to warnings via the Internet (aOR, 0.20; 95% CI: 0.09-0.49), television (aOR, 0.45; 95% CI: 0.24-0.83), and sirens (aOR, 0.50; 95% CI: 0.30-0.85) decreased the odds of injury, and residents frequently exposed to tornado sirens had lower odds of injury. The prevalence of PTSD in respondents was 22.1% and screening positive for PTSD symptoms was associated with tornado-related loss events.

CONCLUSIONS: Primary prevention, particularly improved shelter access, and media warnings, seem essential to prevent severe tornado-injury. Small rooms such as bathrooms may provide some protection within permanent homes when no underground shelter is available.

Language: en


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