Severe Weather Safety Tips

Lightning bolts in dark blue sky

Keep safe during the storm with these storm safety tips.

In addition to being the season of re-growth, rebirth and renewal, spring is also the season of severe weather in many parts of the country. Here are some interesting U.S. severe-weather facts as well as some severe-weather safety tips to help keep your family and pets safe this spring. Tornados, high winds, and flash floods are extremely serious weather conditions. These storm safety tips from Protection 1, will make sure that your loved ones are always prepared and always safe.

Severe-weather Facts


  • Result in an average of 62 deaths and 1,500 injuries per year
  • Can produce winds that reach 250+ miles per hour
  • Can be as large as one mile wide and stay on the ground for 50 miles


  • Results in an average of 55-60 deaths and 300 injuries per year
  • Occurs with all thunderstorms

High Winds

  • Can exceed 125 miles per hour
  • Can cause tornado-like damage

Flash Flooding

  • No. 1 weather-related cause of death
  • Results in an average of 70+ deaths per year


  • Can be larger than a softball
  • Causes more than $1 billion in crop/property damage per year

Disaster Supplies Kit

Assemble a disaster supplies kit with items you may need in case of an evacuation. Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers, such as backpacks or duffle bags. Keep important family documents in a waterproof container. Keep a smaller disaster supplies kit in the trunk of your car.

  • Water: 3 gallons/person and additional 4 gallons/person and pet if confined to home
  • Food: a 3-day supply and at least an additional 4-day supply per person or pet for use at home. You may want to consider stocking a two-week supply of food (with a long shelf life such as MREs or Freeze Dried) and water in your home.
  • Items for infants: including formula, diapers, bottles, pacifiers, powdered milk and medications not requiring refrigeration
  • Items for seniors, disabled persons or anyone with serious allergies—including special foods, denture items, extra eyeglasses, hearing aid batteries, prescription and non-prescription medications that are regularly used, inhalers and other essential equipment.
  • Kitchen accessories: a manual can opener; mess kits or disposable cups, plates and utensils; utility knife; sugar and salt; aluminum foil and plastic wrap; re-sealable plastic bags
  • A portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra, fresh batteries
  • Several flashlights and extra, fresh batteries
  • A first-aid kit
  • One complete change of clothing and footwear for each person: including sturdy work shoes or boots, raingear and other items adjusted for the season, such as hats and gloves, thermal underwear, sunglasses, dust masks
  • Blankets or a sleeping bag for each person
  • Sanitation and hygiene items: shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, comb and brush, lip balm, sunscreen, contact lenses and supplies and any medications regularly used, toilet paper, towelettes, soap, hand sanitizer, liquid detergent, feminine supplies, plastic garbage bags (heavy-duty) and ties (for personal sanitation uses), medium-sized plastic bucket with tight lid, disinfectant, household chlorine bleach
  • Other essential items: paper, pencil, needles, thread, small A-B-C-type fire extinguisher, medicine dropper, whistle, emergency preparedness manual
  • Entertainment: including games and books, favorite dolls and stuffed animals for small children
  • A map of the area marked with places you could go and their telephone numbers
  • An extra set of keys and ids: including keys for cars and any properties owned and copies of driver’s licenses, passports and work identification badges
  • Cash and coins and copies of credit cards
  • Copies of medical prescriptions
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • A small tent, compass and shovel

Consider preparing a Disaster Supplies Kit for your pets. For more information please visit:

Family Emergency Plan

An important severe weather safety tip is to make sure a family emergency plan is set in place.

Gather information about hazards. Learn your community’s warning signals and evacuation plans. The Federal Emergency Management Agency can help you prepare for hazards at:

Meet with your family to create a plan. Discuss the plan and pick two places to meet: a spot outside your home and a location away from your neighborhood in case you can’t return home. Choose an out-of-state friend as your “family check-in contact” to call if the family gets separated.

Implement your plan.

  • Post emergency telephone numbers by phones and put numbers into cell phone address book
  • Install safety features in your house, such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers
  • Inspect your home for potential hazards (such as items that can move, fall, break, or catch fire) and correct them
  • As a family, learn basic safety measures, such as CPR and first aid; how to use a fire extinguisher; and how and when to turn off water, gas, and electricity in your home
  • Teach children how and when to call 911; (6) Keep enough supplies in your home to meet your needs for at least three days.

Practice and maintain your plan. Ask questions to make sure your family remembers meeting places, phone numbers, and safety rules. Conduct drills. Test your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries two times each year. Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to manufacturer’s instructions. Replace stored water and food every 6 months.

Tornado Safety Tips

Tornados can be extremely dangerous forces of nature and should be taken very seriously. These severe weather safety tips can help prepare you for possible tornados.

In a house with a basement. Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some kind of sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag.

In a house with no basement, a dorm, or an apartment. Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail.

In an office building, hospital, nursing home or skyscraper. Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building—away from glass and on the lowest floor possible. Then, crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly. Stay off the elevators; you could be trapped in them if the power is lost.

In a mobile home. Get out! Even if your home is tied down, you are probably safer outside, even if the only alternative is to seek shelter out in the open. Most tornadoes can destroy even tied-down mobile homes; and it is best not to play the low odds that yours will make it. If your community has a tornado shelter, go there fast. If there is a sturdy permanent building within easy running distance, seek shelter there. Otherwise, lie flat on low ground away from your home, protecting your head. If possible, use open ground away from trees and cars, which can be blown onto you.

At school. Follow the drill! Go to the interior hall or room in an orderly way as you are told. Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.

In a car or truck. Vehicles are extremely dangerous in a tornado. 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. Otherwise, park the car as quickly and safely as possible—out of the traffic lanes. Get out and seek shelter in a sturdy building. If in the open country, run to low ground away from any cars (which may roll over on you). Lie flat and face-down, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.

In the open outdoors. If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado.

In a shopping mall or large store. Do not panic. Watch for others. Move as quickly as possible to an interior bathroom, storage room or other small enclosed area, away from windows.

In a church or theater. Do not panic. If possible, move quickly but orderly to an interior bathroom or hallway, away from windows. Crouch face-down and protect your head with your arms. If there is no time to do that, get under the seats or pews, protecting your head with your arms or hands.

After the tornado. Keep your family together and wait for emergency personnel to arrive. Carefully render aid to those who are injured. Stay away from power lines and puddles with wires in them; they may still be carrying electricity! Watch your step to avoid broken glass, nails, and other sharp objects. Stay out of any heavily damaged houses or buildings; they could collapse at any time. Do not use matches or lighters, in case of leaking natural gas pipes or fuel tanks nearby. Remain calm and alert, and listen for information and instructions from emergency crews or local officials.

Dangerous weather can be a very serious and dangerous matter. In order to remain safe and unharmed, it is imperative that you are educated about the necessary safety precautions. These following severe weather safety precautions from Protection 1 will help make sure you don’t put yourself at a heightened risk.