Skip to Main Content

Start of main content

Tornado safety: How to prepare

Don’t wait for the sirens or the alert on your phone. Here’s how to prepare now in case a tornado comes your way.

A tornado on the horizon.

Preparing for a tornado

There’s not a lot you can do to prevent tornado damage to your home, but you can take steps to prevent injury to the people inside it.

Tips for tornado safety

Pick a safe space

This should be a spot everyone can get to quickly. Or, consider a safe room for maximum protection.

How to pick a tornado safe space

  • Home with basement – The basement is often your safest bet, if it’s not prone to flooding. Pick a space away from windows and under some kind of sturdy protection if possible, like a heavy table.
  • Apartment building or home without a basement – Find a space away from windows on the lowest floor possible, like a small centered room, an interior hallway or under a stairwell.
  • Mobile home – Find an underground shelter or sturdy permanent structure nearby.

Do a practice tornado drill at least once a year. Make sure your family also knows where to go during a tornado if they’re not at home, and pick a local place to meet if you’re separated during a tornado.

Create survival and first aid kits

Stow them in your safe space. Include things like non-perishable foods, bottled water, flashlight, batteries, phone chargers, first aid supplies, and medicines. Keep heavy blankets or an old mattress in your space too, for added protection.

Secure important documents

Use a fire box, safe, or safety deposit box to store things like contact information for family and friends, insurance information, passports, birth certificates, and marriage licenses.

Create a home inventory and schedule an insurance review.

A detailed home inventory can help make sure you have the right coverage for your belongings. And if you’re a homeowner, talk with your insurance agent to make sure your home is covered for its replacement cost value.

Watch or warning

Educate your family on the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning, and know what to do during each. Make sure everyone knows how to spot a tornado too. Watch for a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud, an approaching cloud of debris or a loud roar that’s similar to a freight train.

Use this tornado preparedness checklist to keep your plan on track. And when severe weather is on the way, tune in to your NOAA radio station or your local news for the latest updates.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates) is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, any third party products or the content of any third party sites referenced in this material. State Farm has no discretion to alter, update, or control the content on the third party sites. Any references to such sites are provided for informational purposes only and are not a solicitation to buy or sell any of the products which may be referenced on such third party sites. State Farm does not warrant the merchantability, fitness, or quality of the third party products referenced in this material.


Get a Quote

Select a product to start a quote.


Contact Us

844-373-0003 844-373-0003

Also Important

Here are some additional articles that may also be important to you.  So you should check them out.

What to Do In a Tornado

What to Do In a Tornado

You see the alert. Your area is under a tornado watch, or even worse, a tornado warning. Know the differences between them, and what to do during a tornado.

What to Do After a Tornado

What to Do After a Tornado

The aftermath of a tornado can feel scary and overwhelming. Here is how to address your most urgent needs first, and how to start the tornado recovery process.

Related Articles

Power Outage Tips

Power Outage Tips

When severe weather looms, make sure your home is prepared for a power failure.

Portable Generator Safety Tips

Portable Generator Safety Tips

Stay safe when you need a portable generator to provide temporary power to your home.

Ways to Stay Safe During a Severe Wind Event

Ways to Stay Safe During a Severe Wind Event

Safety tips to help your severe wind emergency planning.