What to Tell Children

  • Find safe places in your home and classroom. Make sure these places are away from windows and tall furniture that could tip over. In your safe place, get under something sturdy, or use a large, hard-cover book to help protect your head and neck from flying or falling objects. Locate safe places outside in case you are not able to go inside. Frequently, children in schools are told to move to the inner hallways away from windows. Children need to know that a tornado safe place is not the same as a fire meeting place.
  • Wherever you are, if you hear or see a tornado coming, take cover right away. Tornadoes can move quickly, blowing objects at very high speeds, even if they are a distance away. Protect yourself from flying debris by taking cover immediately.
  • If you're in a house or apartment building and a tornado threatens, go to the lowest level - a basement or storm cellar if possible. Once on the lowest level, go to the middle of the building away from windows, into a bathroom or closet if possible. The safest place to be is under the ground, or as low to the ground as possible, and away from all windows. If you have a basement, make it your safe place. If you do not have a basement, consider an interior hallway or room on the lowest floor. Putting as many walls as you can between you and the outside will provide additional protection. Make sure there are no windows or glass doors in your safe place and keep this place uncluttered.
  • Get under something sturdy, such as a heavy table, hold on and stay there until the danger has passed. Being under something heavy will help protect you from falling objects. If tornado wind enters the room and the object moves, holding on with one hand will help you move with it, keeping you protected.
  • Use your other arm and hand to protect your head and neck from falling or flying objects. Your head and neck are more easily injured than other parts of your body. Protect them as much as you can.
  • If you're outside in a car or in a mobile home, go immediately to the basement of a nearby sturdy building. Sturdy buildings are the safest place to be. Tornado winds can blow large objects, including cars, hundreds of feet away. Tornadoes can change direction quickly and can lift up a car or truck and toss it through the air. Never try to out-drive a tornado. Mobile homes are particularly vulnerable. A mobile home can overturn very easily even if precautions have been taken to tie down the unit.
  • If there is no building nearby, lie flat in a low spot. Use your arms and hands to protect your head. Tornadoes cause a lot of debris to be blown at very high speeds, and you can be hurt by this debris if it hits you. Dangerous flying debris can be blown under highway overpasses and bridges, or weaker overpasses and bridges could be destroyed. You will be safer lying flat in a low-lying area where wind and debris will blow above you. Tornadoes come from severe thunder- storms, which can produce a lot of rain. If you see quickly rising water or flood water coming towards you, move to another spot.