Basic Tornado Safety
- The lowest possible level of a building or structure (Ex: First floor, basement, storm cellar)
- Interior room with no windows, such as a closet or bathroom
- Get underneath sturdy piece of furniture and cover neck and head
- Avoid places / rooms with wide-span roofs (cafeterias, gymnasiums, shopping malls)
- Mobile Homes are not safe shelters; you should make plans before the storm arrives to get to a pre-planned shelter
- Apartment dwellers should have a plan in place to get to an apartment on the lowest level of the complex. Contact your Leasing Office.
- Do not attempt to outrun a tornado in your automobile, seek shelter inside a nearby building. Be sure not to choose a large box store with a wide-span roof.
- If stranded outside lie down in a ditch or low lying area away from the vehicle, but remain aware of possible flash flooding
- Do not seek shelter underneath a bridge or overpass
If You Are in a Structure
- Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar or the lowest building level.
- If there's no basement or cellar, go to an interior room on the lowest level (bathroom, closet, interior hallway) away from the corners, windows, doors, and outside walls.
- Put as many walls between you and the outside as possible.
- If you seek shelter in a bathtub, use a mattress or other protective item to cover you and protect against debris.
- If in a room, get under a sturdy table or at least use your arms to protect your head and neck.
- DO NOT open windows.
If You Are in a Vehicle, Trailer or Mobile Home
- If possible, get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy building or storm shelter.
- Watch for flying debris. Most tornado related fatalities and injuries are caused by flying debris.
- Never try to outrun a tornado - seek shelter.
- DO NOT get under an overpass or bridge if possible. Often times, flying debris is worse in these areas.
Outside With No Shelter
- Lie flat in a ditch or low lying area and cover your head with your hands. Beware of flood waters in these areas.
Watch vs. Warning
A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area. A tornado WARNING means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed to your area.
When a Tornado WATCH is Issued
- Listen to local radio and TV stations, be ready to take protective action from severe weather.
- Be alert to changing weather conditions.
- Average tornado warning time is just 13 minutes so pay close attention and sign up for notification through many sources so you find out when a Watch transitions to a Warning.
Building a Safe Room
- Visit www.FEMA.gov/safe-rooms
- Download the FEMA P-320 guide on building a safe room for your home or small business
- Download the FEMA P-361 guide for tornadoes and hurricanes for residential safe rooms
Outdoor Warning System Activation
- The National Weather Service issues a Richardson area Tornado Warning or Severe Thunderstorm Warning with destructive winds at or above 70 mph
- Trained storm spotters have reported a tornado with the potential to affect the City of Richardson
- Golf ball size hail is imminent
- Deemed necessary by City of Richardson officials (i.e. in the event of any emergency when officials need to get citizens to move indoors for their safety)