Tornado safety: What to do in a tornado

Tornado safety: What to do in a tornado

Tornado safety: What to do in a tornado


by Maureen Hagrman

Posted on October 21, 2009 at 6:12 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 25 at 6:45 PM

If a tornado warning is issued for your location, take the following steps immediately…

If you are at home:

Go at once to the basement, storm cellar, or the lowest level of the building.

If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway or a small inner room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet.  Interior hallways on the lowest floor offer the most protection. Avoid areas with large span roofs as these roofs are weak and prone to failure.

Go to the center of the room. Debris can sometimes drive through walls.

If you have time, get a mattress or blankets to protect your head.  If you don’t have time, use your arms to protect your head and neck.

If you live in a mobile home, get out and find shelter elsewhere in a permanent building.  If seeking shelter in a structured building is not an option, please follow the guidelines for outdoors. 

In high rise buildings, go to a small interior room or hallway away from windows. Stay away from windows, do not open or close them.


If outdoors:

If possible, get inside a sturdy building.

If shelter is not available or there is no time to get indoors, lie in a ditch or low-lying area or crouch near a strong building.  Never take shelter under a highway overpass. Overpasses create a deadly wind tunnel effect, which will pull you out from under the bridge.

Use arms to protect head and neck.

If in a vehicle:

Never try to out drive a tornado in a car or truck. Tornadoes can change direction quickly and can lift up a car or truck and toss it through the air.

Move at right angles to the tornado.

Get out of the car immediately and take shelter in a nearby building.

If there is no time to get indoors, get out of the car and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle.

DO NOT stop under overpasses.

Remember to have a weather radio, radio or television nearby to stay alert of any changes to the weather situation.