Safety Tips For Tornadoes: Dos and Don’ts

By HomeAdvisor

Updated July 27, 2016

Tornadoes can strike anywhere at any time, requiring immediate action to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Knowing what to do — and what not to do — when a tornado warning is issued can mean the difference between life and death. Here’s what you need to know:


 Wait until the tornado is visible before heading to shelter.

 Stay in an unstable building.

Park under an overpass (they can be more dangerous than open ground).

 Go to the southwest corner of your shelter (this is the direction from which most tornadoes approach).

 Stand or sit next to a window or something heavy that may fall on you.

 Open windows in your home (you’ll be further exposed to flying glass and debris).

 Light a candle (ruptured gas lines can create a fire hazard).


 Have a tornado plan and preparedness kit.

Collect your wallet, keys, required medications and any other necessities and keep them with you.

Go immediately to an underground shelter or basement – or a small, windowless interior.

 Take further shelter under something sturdy, like a heavy table or mattress. Protect your head and crouch down as low to the floor as possible.

 Listen to a battery-powered radio for tornado updates.

 Stay away from power lines, broken glass, nails and other dangerous objects after the tornado.

 Wait for information and instructions from emergency crews or local officials.


If you can’t quickly walk to an established building, immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the shelter.

If debris begins to fly while you are driving, pull over and park.
You have 2 options:

  1. If you can safely get significantly lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.
  2. Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows, covering with your hands and a blanket if possible.



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