How do I prepare for a tornado before it strikes?

Warning Systems

Learn about Warning Systems.

  • Inspect Your Home: Paying close attention to the walls and roof. You may need to make some improvements such as bolting the walls to the foundation or attaching "hurricane clips" between wall studs and roof rafters. You may want to contact building inspectors in your city or county about structural concerns that you might have.

Prepare a Shelter

  • If your home does not have a basement or storm cellar, locate the safest room in your house and designate it as your storm shelter. An interior room without windows such as a closet, bathroom or the crawl space under a staircase may be the safest place. Lower-level interior bathrooms provide the best protection if no basement is available because the plumbing provides additional sturdiness to the walls.
  • Mobile homes - even those with tie-downs - are not safe during tornadoes. Mobile homes should always be abandoned during severe weather and plan on sheltering in a nearby sturdy building. If no shelter is available, get out of vehicles and find the most low-lying area (ditch, ravine, etc.) lay flat on your stomach and cover your head with your hands.

Safe Rooms

Building a safe room is another option. Safe rooms are above-ground shelters built to withstand tornado-force winds and flying debris. An existing room, such as an interior bathroom, can be reinforced to function as a safe room while remaining functional as a bathroom. See information from FEMA on Preparing a Safe Room. Manufactured free-standing safe rooms also are available.

Show All Answers

1. Why do I need a disaster supplies kit?
2. How do I prepare for a tornado before it strikes?
3. What hints do you have for recovering from flood or water damage?
4. We had a storm last night. Why didn't I get a CodeRED Weather Warn call?
5. What is the difference between a severe weather watch and a severe weather warning?