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Science Debunked: The ONLY Safe Places During Tornadoes

Do you know about these safe places during tornadoes?

What are the safe places during tornadoes? This might be a question that any of us have asked at some point. And for good reasons. Tornadoes are a dangerous phenomenon, and we all should know how to stay safe in case the area we live in is under tornado alert.

Every year, tornadoes continue to strike various parts of our country, bringing with them strong winds and causing damage to the homes and properties that are in their path. The 2022 tornado season resulted in the deaths of 23 people, hundreds of more injuries, and billions of dollars worth of property damage.

Read on and discover what you can do in the event of a tornado. Here are some safe places during tornadoes and other tips that might help you.

safe places during tornadoes
Photo by Manolines from Shutterstock

1. Are you inside your house?

If you are lucky and, at the time the tornado is approaching, you are in your home, you should know that there are some places where you can hide. If you are wondering what the safe places are during tornadoes that we all have in our homes, you are in the right place.

If you have access to a cellar, storm shelter, safe room, or basement, get there right away. If none of these alternatives are available, you can also get to the ground floor of your home. It is best to choose a place that has no windows that the wind and the objects carried by it can break. Bathrooms, interior rooms, closets, or inner hallways are the safest places to hide if you don’t have access to a basement.

Also, try to stay in the middle of the room since the corners are known to attract debris. Another thing that you can do is go under a piece of furniture, such as a heavy desk or table, and hold your thigh to it. It is advised to protect your neck and head with something soft, like a blanket.

2. Are you in a mobile home?

There are many Americans out there who live in mobile homes. And one thing about this type of housing is that it is not the safest place to be in case a tornado strikes. Mobile homes are vulnerable, and this can put your life in danger.

Even if efforts have been made to tie down the unit, it is easy to be overturned by the strong winds. When a tornado is approaching and you are inside a mobile home, you should leave the home right away.

What you can do is know beforehand the layout of the place where you live. The area and the neighborhood are really important. Are there any buildings around? If yes, enter the closest building that has a strong foundation and take shelter there.

If a shelter is not accessible, take refuge in a ditch or other low-lying location some distance from the mobile home. It is important not to be around anything that can hit you. Also, make sure to protect your neck and head by using your arms.

3. Are you outdoors?

If you are outdoors when the tornado is approaching, scan for safe places and decide if there are any you can go to. For example, the best thing you can do is get inside a building. Any building is better than being hit directly by a tornado while you are outside.

As we said before, if you can’t go inside a building and your only choice is to stay outside, look around, find a low-lying area or a ditch, and go there. Lay on the ground and protect your head and neck with everything you have. For example, your hands or a bag. Also, if there are buildings around but you can’t enter them, try to crouch near a strong building.

Moreover, you can do the same trick and hide behind a big rock or any rocky outcrop. Keep in mind that if you want to hide behind a tree, you need to be very careful because some of them can be deadly traps. We say this because some tree species break trees, and even the branches can kill you if they hit you.

Always choose healthy hardwood trees such as maple, beach, or oak. Do your best to avoid softer tree species such as birch, pine, and poplar.

4. Are you at work or school?

If it happens to be in an office building or a school, it is obviously better than being outside, but you should be careful when choosing a place to hide. Also, keep in mind that in a setting like this one, there will be a lot of people who are scared, and this can create general panic. These buildings can be considered safe places during tornadoes if you know where to take shelter.

Always aim for the basement. This is the golden rule in the case of a tornado. There are many safe places during a tornado that you can choose from, but this one is the safest. If it is not possible to access the basement, get to an inside hallway at the lowest level you can find.

Avoid areas with wide-span roofs, including auditoriums, cafeterias, gyms, and spacious halls. They are not safe places during tornadoes because the roof can easily collapse, and nobody wants to be there when something like this happens.

Always protect your head, and you can also hide under a sturdy desk or a strong and stable table. Try to stay as calm as possible and never go after someone if you think that is a bad decision.

5. Are you in a vehicle?

Sometimes tornadoes are unpredictable, and you can be anywhere when they strike. We all would like to be in safe places during tornadoes, but this might not be possible. So, what are you going to do if, let’s say, you are inside your car or other vehicle when the tornado approaches you?

The first rule you should know is that you should never try to outrun a tornado! This is one of the worst ideas, and it can cost your life! A car, truck, or any other vehicle can be instantly lifted and thrown into the air by a tornado because tornadoes tend to shift direction quickly.

If you are in a vehicle, try to reach safe places during tornadoes. That means you get out of the car and try to enter the nearest building. A building will always be the safest place to take shelter.

If there is no chance to get into a building, do as we have already instructed you. Get out of the car quickly and find a ditch you can lay in or a low-lying area. Also, stay away from the vehicle because the tornado can toss it around and it can hurt you.

Try to protect your head and neck, and also be aware of potential flooding.

safe places during tornadoes
Photo by David Pereiras from Shutterstock

What else can you do in the case of a tornado?

Besides finding safe places during tornadoes, one of the best things you can do is have an emergency tornado backpack. Having a kit with essentials for dissection is a common practice, and you can also have one.

Also, it is a good idea to pick a place where all your family can gather when the tornado is approaching. In this way, you can all be more organized and decide what is best.

Here is a list of the things you can put in this emergency backpack that can save your life: A 3-day supply of water (it is recommended to have 1 gallon per person per day), a first aid kit, a flashlight, some extra batteries, a battery-powered radio, a charged external battery, one blanket, some cash, copies of all of your important documents, food that doesn’t spoil easily, and a can opener

These are only a few things that you can take with you. Remember that a backpack has limited space, so choose what you think will help you the most.

Now that you know about safe places during tornadoes where you can take shelter, maybe you are eager to learn more about tornadoes. We recommend an amazing book that follows the adventures of a real-life tornado chaser:  The Man Who Caught the Storm: The Life of Legendary Tornado Chaser Tim Samaras

You can also read: 5 Random Facts You Learned in School That Are No Longer True


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