Family Emergency Plan

At National Storm Shelters, public safety is our main concern. Every day, we use our weather knowledge and manufacturing experience to create state-of-the-art below and above storm shelters to protect you and your family from the devastating destruction of a tornado.

The National Weather Services reports an average of 1,200 tornadoes strike the U.S. every year. In fact, the U.S. has more tornadoes in any given year than any other country and reports the worst tornado destruction from violent EF4 and EF5 tornadoes than anywhere else in the world. 

Tornadoes are unpredictable forces of nature that are certain to occur in every state every season, which is why being prepared for a tornado could mean the difference between life and death. 

Follow our family emergency plan to stay prepared for severe weather and natural disasters:

1. Identify a safe room where you and your family can take cover

Storm shelters that meet industry safety standards are built to withstand extremely high wind and debris impact, and are the safest option for keeping you and your family safe during a tornado.
  • Above ground safe rooms, which are reinforced steel closets, can typically withstand side impact and fallout from a tornado with up to an F3 rating, equal to side impact and gravity fallout from winds up to 200 mph). 
  • Underground shelters installed into the floor of your garage or backyard can withstand fallout impact from the most powerful tornado with an F6 rating, equal to winds up to 319 mph and debris pile up to 4,000 pounds. 
If you don’t have a storm shelter in your home, find a room in your home that’s at the lowest level possible, preferably underground, with no windows, such as a basement. If you don’t have a basement, find an interior space, such as a small closet under the stairs or bathroom, that puts as many walls between you and the exterior of your home. If you retreat to an interior space, pull a mattress and pillows on top of you and your family for extra protection. 

2. Pack a severe weather preparedness kit that includes:

  • A pair of sturdy shoes or boots – oftentimes you and your family members will retreat to your shelter in a hurry and you may not be wearing shoes. When the storm has passed and you emerge from shelter, there will likely be broken glass and debris that could injure feet. 
  • Fully charged cell phone 
  • A blanket – both for warmth and to shield you and your family from falling debris 
  • Battery-powered flashlight and glow sticks 
  • Weather radio – if you have an underground storm shelter installed into the floor of your garage, we recommend keeping the radio always plugged into a garage outlet so you can turn it on and just increase the volume when you’re taking cover in your garage shelter. 
  • Coach’s whistle – if your cell phone isn’t working or the battery dies, a whistle will help attract the attention of neighbors after the storm. 
  • Water – FEMA recommends a three-day supply for your emergency kit. Of that stock, bring one bottle per family member into your storm shelter. 4 Severe Weather Family Emergency Plan 
  • Personal Locator Beacon or PLB – these are personal emergency locator transmitters that send distress signals to geostationary satellites.

3. Practice severe weather drills 

Make sure your family knows the quickest route to safety by practicing tornado drills. These drills should include practicing an exit strategy to your safe place from every room in your home and going over who is responsible for grabbing supplies, such as an emergency kits, pillows, blankets, radios, flashlights and safety gear. Set aside 15 minutes a month for practicing severe weather drills so that every member of your family can quickly take cover. 

Should you and your family get separated in a storm, designate a place and time to wait and meet up after the storm. 

4. Heed the severe weather and take action 

The National Weather Service is the most reliable source for issuing accurate tornado warnings. Their tracking and prediction abilities are more accurate than ever before. 

In addition, you should stay tuned to local weather stations and take advantage of severe weather phone apps such as iMap Weather Radio, MyWarn and Weather Alert USA to track the storm’s progress. Nowadays, news stations and storm trackers will also post instant updates on social media channels, such as Twitter, since most people taking cover will still have access to a mobile device. 

Don’t wait to take cover, act immediately.