Tornado safety guidelines: be ready before the storm


Your best defense against a tornado is to have a safety plan, pay attention to your local weather information, and act quickly if a tornado threatens you. Your chances of surviving even the strongest tornado are excellent if you follow these basic guidelines, even if no safe room or underground shelter is available.


Develop a severe weather safety plan. Consider what actions you would take at home, work, school, or commuting. Make sure you and your family understands where to go to stay safe in a tornado. Practice the plan. Do it now - don't wait until storms are forecast!

Your safety depends on you being aware of the latest severe weather outlooks, watches, and warnings. Have at least three different ways to get life-saving warnings. Do it now - don't wait until storms are in the forecast.


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Stay calm, act quickly, and rely on your safety plan.

The safest place to be in a tornado is an underground storm shelter, above ground safe room, or basement.

If no underground shelter or safe room is available, go to the lowest level of a sturdy building or your home. Put as many walls between you and the outside as possible. Avoid windows, doors and exterior walls. Closets and bathrooms are often good choices.

If possible, get under a sturdy table or desk. Cover up with pillows or cushions to protect against flying debris.

If you are in a mobile home, in a vehicle, or outdoors, find a storm shelter or sturdy building quickly. Cars, trucks, and mobile homes offer little protection and are not where you should be in a tornado.