Safest Places to Be During a Tornado

If a tornado has been spotted or indicated by weather radar, you need to seek shelter immediately. Of course, the safest place to be when a tornado approaches is in a basement or storm shelter underground. But if you are not able to get to a shelter or basement, you need to find shelter that is available. 

If you are at home 

  • If you have a cellar, storm shelter, safe room or basement available, go immediately to that area. If none of these options are available to you, get to the lowest level of your home.
  • Get to a windowless interior room, such as a bathroom, closet or inner hallway 
  • Stay as far from windows as possible
  • Go to the center of the room – corners tend to attract debris
  • Get under a sturdy piece of furniture; heavy table or desk, and hold on to it
  • Protect your head and neck with a blanket, if possible

If you are in a mobile home

Mobile homes are particularly vulnerable to tornadoes. They can be easily overturned, even if precautions have been taken to tie down the unit. If you are in a mobile home when a tornado is approaching, evacuate the home immediately.

  • Take shelter in a building with a strong foundation
  • If a shelter is not available, lie in a ditch or low-lying area a safe distance away from the mobile home.
  • Use your arms to protect head and neck


If you are at work or school

  • Go to the basement or an inside hallway at the lowest level
  • Avoid places with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums, cafeterias, gymnasiums, large hallways or shopping malls
  • Get under a sturdy piece of furniture such as a desk or heavy table.
  • Use your arms to protect head and neck

If you are outdoors

  • If possible, get inside a building.
  • If shelter is unavailable or there is no time to get indoors, lie in a ditch or low-lying area or crouch near a strong building.
  • Use your arms to protect your head and neck
  • Stay alert to the potential for flooding

If you are in a vehicle

Never try to outrun a tornado. Tornadoes can change direction quickly and can instantly lift up a car, truck or any other vehicle and toss it through the air.

  • Get out of the vehicle immediately and take shelter in a nearby building 
  • If there is no time to get indoors, get out of the vehicle and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle
  • Use your arms to protect your head and neck
  • Stay alert to the potential for flooding