Use the guidelines below to develop a personal tornado safety plan for you and your family. Remember you need to have a plan for wherever you may be when a tornado strikes - at home, at school, at work, on the road or in a public building.
Know what the threats are. In Tennessee, we need to be concerned about severe thunderstorms, wind, hail, lightning, flash flooding and tornadoes.
You must be able to get to your safe shelter area quickly - you may only have seconds to act! Your first step to surviving a tornado is to develop a plan before storms are on the horizon.
These items would be extremely useful to have in your storm shelter, or to take with you to your storm shelter, when severe weather strikes.
If you have a safe room or other shelter area, you might consider storing important papers and other irreplaceable items in the shelter if space permits.
Check and replace batteries in your weather radio, flashlights and other devices in your safety kit often, preferably twice a year. Do this at the same time you set clocks back/ahead in the spring and fall, and when you replace smoke detector batteries. Check you disaster supplies kit often, as well to maintain fresh food and water, etc. Remember that your disaster supplies kit could also be critical in other types of disasters, including winter storms, etc.
Make sure you have something to cover up with. Pillows, blankets, sleeping bags, a mattress could help to protect you from falling/flying debris. Above all protect your head, neck and upper body. Wear a helmet (bicycle, football, baseball, motorcycle, hard hat, etc) if you have one. If there's room, lie flat and cover up. Otherwise, get as low to the ground as possible and make as small a target as possible.
Unfortunately, there are no safety rules - absolute safety facts that will keep you safe 100% of the time. Instead, we offer guidelines for personal safety. The vast majority of tornadoes are weak and don't last very long. By following the guidelines included in this document, you and your family can survive a tornado. These tornado safety guidelines should reduce - but will not totally eliminate - your chances of being seriously injured or killed in a tornado.
The good news is that you can survive most tornadoes. The key to survival is planning - knowing what you need to do to be safe before a tornado threatens.
To find out what to do in certain situations in order to stay safe, go to the Basics of Severe Weather Safety page.