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What to Do During a Tornado: Safety Tips for Everyone

What to Do During a Tornado: Safety Tips for Everyone

There’s more than property at stake during a dangerous storm. Make sure you and your family know what to do during a tornado.

No matter how accustomed you are to tornado warnings, it’s hard to know what to expect when a storm hits. Thankfully, you can still have a tornado safety plan in place ahead of time. Whether at home, at school, at work, or somewhere else, you’ll want a plan for what do to during a tornado to ensure you and your loved ones stay safe.

At Home

Hopefully, you’ll be at home if severe weather strikes. That’s where you can be most prepared. As soon as you hear the tornado warning or see clear signs of a tornado in the sky, move as far to the interior of the lowest floor of your home as possible, away from all windows and glass. Basements and hallways are both good options. (Bathtubs can also offer partial protection if you don’t have a good hallway to crouch in.) Get as low to the floor as possible, facedown, and cover your head with your hands. If possible, cover yourself with a mattress or something sturdy like a work table to protect yourself from falling debris.

Before a tornado hits, it’s a good idea to have a survival kit stored in your shelter area. Flashlights, batteries, canned goods, warm clothes, and water will all come in handy should your home suffer severe damage.

The best protection from a tornado at home is preparation. Long before severe weather is on the horizon, it’s a good idea to do things like ensuring your home is in good repair and protecting against water damage. If you haven’t already, consider taking out an insurance policy that will aid you in recovery in case a disaster occurs.

At School

Schools offer reliable shelter from tornados just by their sheer size. There are many interior hallways and stairwells away from windows that provide protection from heavy winds and debris. The danger increases, however, the more stories from the ground you are. Do the best you can to seek shelter on the lowest level without overcrowding or creating an additional unsafe situation.

Avoid large spaces like gymnasiums and cafeterias as debris can easily travel through these areas and potentially cause injury. Never go outside onto playgrounds or into parking lots, and always follow the school’s storm safety procedures.

At work, in hospitals, in shopping centers, etc.

Many of the same rules that apply to schools also pertain to these categories. Get to the lowest level and as far from windows and glass as possible. Most of these facilities will have emergency procedures in place for severe weather, so make sure to find a staff member for instructions. Avoid parking garages unless they are underground, and never seek shelter in an elevator as you may become trapped if the power goes out. If the building you’re in has a designated storm shelter, head there immediately when a tornado warning is issued.

In Mobile Homes

Mobile homes are tricky. It’s tempting to want to stay inside except that mobile homes aren’t rooted to the ground on a foundation the way regular homes are. A tornado can easily lift a mobile home and toss it as far as miles away. You’re better off leaving the home and seeking shelter under a substantial structure if there’s one nearby. (Never seek shelter under trees!) If no shelter is available, it’s best to find a culvert or ditch and lie flat in it with your hands protecting your head.

In Vehicles

If a twister breaks out while you’re in your car, get out! As with mobile home evacuation, try to find substantial shelter or a deep depression in the ground where you can lie flat and cover your head. Never seek shelter under a bridge or highway underpass as these can weaken and create dangerous falling debris.

You might be tempted to outrun the tornado in a vehicle. Don’t! Tornados move just as fast as cars, sometimes faster, and they can change path without warning. You’re better off following the safety procedures outlined above.



Taking care of yourself is first and foremost during severe weather, but it’s a good idea to take care of your property as well. Contact Pekin Insurance today to talk about policies that will protect your home and belongings should tragedy strike. Recovery from a tornado is hard enough. We want to make rebuilding your life as seamless and affordable as possible.


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