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VERIFY: What are the safest places to be during a tornado?

While no place is 100% safe, here's a look at the safest places to be.


Question: Where is the safest place to be during a tornado?

This question comes up frequently during severe weather events when there's a risk of tornadoes.


FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)

National Weather Service/weather.gov

Madison County (AL) Emergency Management Agency (EMA)

All sources agree: The safest place to be is in a storm shelter. These structures, whether above ground or underground, offer the best protection.

According to FEMA, the worse places to be during a tornado are:

  • Vehicle
  • Under a highway overpass
  • Mobile home

Better options:

  • Interior room of a well-constructed home or building
  • Basement

Best options:

  • Tornado or storm shelter (NSSA/ICC 500 compliant)
  • Specifically designed FEMA safe room
Credit: FEMA
FEMA tornado safety guidelines

RELATED: Emergency storm shelters in North Alabama

According to the National Weather Service in Huntsville, if you can't get to a storm shelter:

  • Get as low as you can, away from windows and door. If you don't have a basement, move to an interior room with no windows.
  • Top floor rooms will not protect you. Neither will exterior rooms or rooms with windows.
  • No place outside is safe during a tornado.
Credit: weather.gov
weather.gov Tornado Safety Tips

Madison County (AL) Emergency Management Officer, Chris Reed, says, "Know where you're going to take shelter, whether that’s in your home or somewhere else. Consider finding a safe space at a community shelter if you live in a mobile home. Most your fatalities that happen and injuries that happen during tornadic winds, those people were inside a mobile home or a vehicle."

RELATED: Tips to prepare ahead of North Alabama storms


The safest place to be during a tornado event is in a storm shelter. If you can't get to one, go to your basement or an interior room without windows.

Vehicles, rooms with windows, top floor rooms, and anywhere outside are the worst places to be.

RELATED: Severe weather: Preventing damage and what to do after it occurs

No matter where you go, make sure you have emergency supplies ready. Your emergency it should have a first aid kit, whistle, flashlight and batteries, money, battery powered radio/weather radio, phone charger/power bank, three-day supply of non-perishable food and water, change of clothes and shoes, and prescription medications and other health/hygiene items.


Have multiple ways to get severe weather updates.

Credit: National Weather Service
Tornado emergency kit
Credit: TEGNA
How to get severe weather updates from WZDX News

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