Sometimes you may find yourself in a location you aren’t familiar with when a tornado hits. Here are our tips on what to do if you get caught in one of these locations.
In a structure. A structure is typically a sturdy building such as a hospital, school, high-rise, mall or nursing home. If you find yourself in one of these buildings during a tornado warning, move calmly and quickly to a safe space such as a basement or storm cellar. If you don’t have access to these, proceed to an interior hallway or room on the lowest floor of the building that you can get to. Make an effort to stay away from all windows and put as many walls in between you and the outside. For more protection, you can also use your arms to cover your head and neck.
In a manufactured building. These buildings are not typically safe to be in when a tornado hits. Manufactured buildings include homes, offices, or mobile homes. If possible, evacuate immediately and go to a storm shelter, or the lowest floor of a sturdy building. If you have no time to evacuate, proceed to an interior hallway or room on the lowest floor of the building. Mobile homes, even if they’re tied down, can’t protect you from the force of a tornado.
Outside. Being outside during a tornado can be terrifying. Currently, there is no research-based recommendation on what the best protocol is if you find yourself outside during a tornado. However, you do have some options that can help protect you from the storm. You can try to get to the nearest shelter ASAP if you feel it is safe to drive. If you spot flying debris, pull over in a safe spot out of traffic, stay buckled in your seat and cover yourself with a blanket, jacket or cushion that you have in the car. If you don’t have access to a car, lie down on your stomach in a noticeably lower area of the ground and cover your head and neck with your arms.
No matter the situation, never take shelter under an overpass or bridge or try to outrun a storm in a traffic congested area. Always look out for flying debris as this causes most fatalities and injuries.