Do You Know Where to Seek Shelter When a Tornado Threatens?



 Tornado near Roanoke, IL tornado 11/17/13                                      Aerial View of 11/17/13 Washington, IL Tornado Damage
       Photo by Adam Lucio, Aerostorms



In Illinois, nearly 80% of all tornadoes occur from April 1st through June 30th, during the late afternoon and early evening hours. In a typical year, Illinois averages 47 tornadoes. Last year there were 54 tornadoes reported. Nearly half of these tornadoes (25) occurred on November 17th, resulting in 8 fatalties, 183 injuries, and more than $1.1 Billion damage. However, early warnings and basements in many homes helped prevent more loss of life during that major tornado outbreak. 

When a tornado threatens, you may only have seconds to save yourself, and your family. Have a preparedness plan for your home, school AND workplace. Know where to find the best tornado shelter.


In a home, go to the basement and get underneath the stairwell, or a heavy piece of furniture. If your home has no basement, go to an interior hallway, closet or bathroom without windows on the lowest floor. 

If you live in a mobile home, seek shelter from severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in a more secure building – well before the storm approaches. Do NOT take refuge in a garage, shed or automobile. 

In schools, hospitals, nursing homes, churches, stores, restaurants, office buildings and other places where people work or gather – go to a small interior room on the lowest level. If sheltering in a hallway, make sure it is an INTERIOR hallway, with no outside doors on either end!! Stay away from windows and exterior doors. Avoid large spaces, or large rooms, such as gymnasiums, cafeterias or auditoriums.  

In high rise buildings
, go to the interior halls or bathrooms on the lowest floor possible. 

In large shopping centers and malls
, avoid large open areas, areas with glass "sky lights", and exterior walls, doors and windows. Go to interior hallways or restrooms on the lowest floor possible. Do not attempt to escape in a vehicle.

If a tornado is approaching and you are in a vehicle
, seek shelter in a nearby reinforced building. As a last resort, lie flat in a ditch and cover your head. 

Don’t try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle and NEVER seek shelter under a bridge or highway overpass.

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