It is important to remain alert to signs of an approaching tornado and seek shelter if threatening conditions exist. Look for environmental clues including a dark sky, large hail or a loud roar.
If a warning is issued, move to a pre-designated shelter such as a basement; stay away from windows. You can prepare for the possibility of a tornado by learning the safest places to seek shelter at home, work, school, or outdoors and while traveling.
Homes & Small Buildings
Move to a pre-designated shelter, such as a basement. If an underground shelter is not available, move to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture. Stay away from windows and outside walls.
Schools, Nursing Homes, Hospitals, Factories, Motels & Shopping Centers
Move to pre-designated shelter areas. Interior hallways and rooms on the lowest floor are usually best. Avoid areas with wide, free-span roofs. Stay away from windows and outside walls.
Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer no protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned.
Seek shelter in a sturdy, well-constructed building.
While Traveling: Do Not Take Shelter Under Overpasses
A dangerous trend has emerged in recent years among people in the path of approaching tornadoes while traveling in a car. Many of those in the path of a tornado are abandoning cars and seeking shelter under highway overpasses, apparently believing this will increase their safety from the storm. The idea that overpasses offer increased safety probably received an additional boost in 1991, when a television news crew rode out a weak tornado under an overpass along the Kansas Turnpike. The resulting video was seen by millions, and appears to have fostered the idea that overpasses are preferred sources of shelter, and should be sought out by those in the path of a tornado.
The safest course of action when a tornado approaches is to get out of the tornado's path by driving at a right angle away from the tornado, or to seek shelter in a sturdy, well-constructed building. Overpasses offer no protection from a direct hit from a tornado, and should not be used as shelter. If there is no time and no nearby shelter lie flat in a ditch or depression and use your hands to protect your head.
After the Storm Has Passed
Check for injured or trapped persons. Give first aid when appropriate. Don't try to move the seriously injured unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help. Turn on radio or television to get the latest emergency information. Use the telephone only for emergency calls.