Severe Weather Safety Guide


In you home: The basement is the best place to be during a tornado. Get underneath the staircase, in an interior small room or closet, or under a table or bench and cover yourself up with pillows or blankets. If you do not have a basement, go to the lowest level of your home, and into a small, interior room such as a bathroom or closet and cover yourself.

In an apartment: If available, go into a downstairs closet or laundry room. Otherwise, get into a closet or bathroom in your apartment, and cover yourself with pillows, towels or blankets.

At work: The same principles apply, go to the lowest level, and put as many walls between you and the outside of the building as possible. Bathrooms are usually more sturdy than other rooms, and interior closets are also a good choice. Crouch down and cover your head.

At school: Your school should have a plan for tornado drills, usually in a hallway on the lowest level of the school. Crouch down and cover your head.

In a mobile home: Even with tie-downs, a mobile home is not a safe place to be. If your mobile home community does not have a shelter, or there is no other sturdy building nearby, move away from the mobile homes, and lie flat in a low area on the ground, making sure to cover your head.


Your home is a good place to be during a storm. Remember that lightning can travel through phone or power lines, and through metal pipes as well. Avoid talking on a corded phone, taking a shower, etc. during a storm. It is recommended that sensitive electronics be unplugged. A surge protector will help, but if lightning strikes your house, it may not be enough to protect your equipment.

If you are not at home, your car is a relatively safe place to be. This applies to hard-topped vehicles, not convertibles. Many people believe that a car is safe because you are grounded by the tires, but actually, the frame of the car diverts the electrical charge around the outside of the car and to the ground through the tires, which often blow out. Make sure to roll the windows up and to not touch anything metal in the car.

If you are caught outside, with no shelter nearby, try to find a dense grove of trees, and stick to the smaller ones. Do not take shelter near a single tree, or other tall object. If you are in a large open field, find the lowest spot in your immediate surrounding and squat down to the ground, with only the balls of your feet touching the ground. Tuck your head down and cover your head with your hands. This gets you lower to the ground, and thus a less attractive target for a lightning strike. You want to minimize your contact with the ground because if lightning does strike nearby, that electrical charge can travel through the ground.


First and foremost, if you find youself in an area with rising water, get to higher ground immediately. Water can rise very quickly in a flash flood, and it only takes 6 inches of flowing water to knock you off your feet.

It only takes 18-24 inches of moving water to make your car float, so it is imperative that you do not drive over a water-covered roadway. You cannot see how deep the water is, and the force of fast-moving water can sometimes wash out the road underneath. Most deaths that occur due to flash flooding are because people were stranded or swept away in their cars. TURN AROUND, DON'T DROWN!


In the event of a large disaster, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) asks for 72 hours to get teams organized and into an area to provide assistance. If there is a disaster that immobilizes your community, weather-related or not, you should be prepared with enough food, water and supplies to sustain your family for 72 hours. Click on the link below for tips on assembling a disaster kit.

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