Tornado Safety

Tornado Safety

Tornados are a pretty rare occurrence in Connecticut, and those that we get here tend to not be as severe as those that you may experience in other regions of the country. However, because we don’t typically see them as a threat here, many of us are ill-informed as to how we can stay safe during a tornado warning or if we see one nearby. Let’s break down the situations you might find yourself in so you can stay safe.

In a Car or Truck

  • Best Option: If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Seek shelter in a sturdy building or underground as soon as possible.
  • Second Best Option: If you are stuck in traffic but you can get out of your car in time, duck and cover in a low spot, off the road and away from your car and trees.
  • As a last resort: If you are caught in extreme winds and don’t have time to get out of your car, pull over and park the car as quickly and safely as possible.
    • Stay in your car with your seatbelt on.
    • Keep your head down below the windows.
    • Cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat, or another form of cushioning if possible.
    • If you can get safely noticeable lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.
    • Avoid seeking shelter under bridges.

In a House with a Basement

  • Avoid windows
  • Get into the basement as soon as possible
  • Get under some kind of sturdy protection such as a sturdy workbench or heavy table as soon as possible.
  • You can also cover yourself with a matter or a sleeping bag.
  • Keep in mind what heavy objects are located where on the floor above (a piano, refrigerator, etc) and do not go underneath them.
  • If you can, wear a helmet or other protective headgear.

In a House, Dorm, or Apartment without a Basement

  • Avoid windows
  • Go down to the lowest floor
  • Go into a small center room (such as a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows.
  • Cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, sleeping bag, blanket, etc.)
  • Crouch as low as possible to the floor, face down, and cover your head with your hands.
  • If you can, wear a helmet or other protective headgear.

In a Mobile Home

  • A mobile home is not safe even if it is tied down, get out as soon as possible!
  • Go to an underground shelter or a permanent, sturdy building.

In an Office Building, Hospital, Nursing Home or Tall Building

  • Avoid glass and windows.
  • Go to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building.
  • Interior stairwells are good places to take cover. DO NOT go into elevators.
  • Cover yourself with what you can.
  • Crouch down and cover your head with your hands.

At School

  • Go to an interior hall or windowless room.
  • Crouch low, keep your head down and protect the back of your head with your arms.
  • Stay away from windows and large open rooms.

In a Large Store, Shopping Mall, Church, or Theater

  • Move quickly, in an orderly fashion, to an interior bathroom, storage room, or another small enclosed area away from windows.
  • Get under a sturdy table if you can.
  • Cover yourself with a blanket, jacket, or another type of cushioning.
  • Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands.


  • If you can, seek shelter in a sturdy building.
  • If you must, lie down flat to the ground, face down, on lower ground.
  • Cover the back of your head with your arms.
  • Stay away from trees, cars, and anything not secured to the ground.

After a Tornado…

  • Stay with your group
  • Call 9-1-1
  • Render whatever first aid you can to those who may need it.
  • Watch your step: avoid broken glass, nails, and other sharp objects.
  • Stay away from power lines and puddles with wires in them.
  • Stay out of heavily damaged buildings.
  • Do not use matches or lighters, because there may be leaking gas pipes or fuel tanks nearby.
  • Stay alert, stay calm, and follow all information and instructions from emergency crews and local officials.
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