Tab/Accordion Items

If you are at home

  • Protect your home by securing windows and doors.
  • Bring in outside items that could be blown away or become “torpedoes” in the high winds.
  • Check your “emergency toolkit” and your “emergency to go bag.” Update items such as food, medicines, and batteries.
  • Electricity may go out, so make sure you have extra drinking water. Also, fill the bathtub with water for bathing and flushing the toilet.
  • Make sure your emergency radio is working.

Sheltering in place

  • Continue to monitor the progress of the storm. 
  • Stay away from windows, glass doors, and skylights.
  • Find a safe place to stay in the interior of the home on a lower floor, unless flooding is a possibility.
  • Do not use a landline telephone if lightning is present. It is safe to use cell phones, but remember to keep them charged for a possible emergency.
  • Turn off electricity at the main breaker if flooding becomes a threat. 
  • Remain indoors until officials give notice that it is safe to go outside. 


  • Monitor storm updates.
  • Authorities may call for an evacuation in coastal or flood-prone areas.
  • If you live in a mobile home, or if it is not anchored well, you may wish to evacuate even when an evacuation is not called for.
  • Follow the DOT evacuation route unless officials give notice of road closures.
  • If possible, arrange to stay with friends or relatives instead of going to a shelter. Shelters are safe places to stay, but they can only provide for the most basic needs. Remember, also, that pets are not allowed in many shelters.
  • Do not try to come home until officials to give notice that residents can safely return.

 Sheltering in place

  • Monitor weather conditions on your emergency radio so you will know if officials order an evacuation. Flash floods can occur quickly. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, don’t wait for an order to evacuate— move to higher ground immediately. 
  • Secure items outside the home or move them inside to keep them from being carried away by flood waters.
  • If low or moderate flooding is expected, move furniture, and electrical items to a higher level.
  • Cut off gas and electricity. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
  • Remember that flood waters could contain toxins, insects or animals.
  • Do not drink flood water unless you boil it for one minute.


  • If you decide to evacuate, it is best to do so before dark while dangers are visible.
  • Secure your home, make provisions for pets, and remember to take both the “emergency toolkit” and “to go bag” because you will need both.
  • If you have time, leave a note in your mailbox or somewhere in your home telling where you are going.
  • If you must walk through floodwater, be careful. Running water only six inches deep can cause a fall. Use a stick to test the solidity of the ground and depth of the water in front of you.
  • Do not drive through running water that is more than six inches deep because that is all it takes to sweep a vehicle away. Remember, “Stop! Turn Around. Don’t Drown.”
  • Watch out for roads that are washed out as well as downed trees and power lines.
  • Move to higher ground but follow the route that officials specify.
  • If your vehicle stalls, leave it and get to higher ground.

 If you are at home

  • If a wildfire is in your area, stay tuned to TV or radio to monitor its progress.
  • Be prepared to leave home as soon as officials call for an evacuation.
  • Keep all windows and doors (even pet doors) closed or sealed off.
  • Turn off air conditioning unit or anything that draws outside air inside.
  • Take down all curtains and other combustible window coverings.
  •  Move combustible furniture (such as sofas) away from windows and sliding glass doors.
  •  Keep lights on for visibility in case the house fills with smoke.
  •  Detach electrical garage doors. Back your vehicle in the garage and leave the keys in the ignition.

If you are trapped in a vehicle

  • Call 911 on your cell phone to give your location and ask for assistance. 
  • Park the vehicle as far away from vegetation as possible. 
  • Close all windows and air vents. 
  • Wrap yourself in a blanket or coat. 
  • Lie on the floor of the vehicle.

 If you are on foot

  • Using your cell phone, call 911. 
  • Go to an area that is free of vegetation.
  • Lie face down on the ground, in a ditch or other depression if possible.

 If you are at home

  • Take shelter immediately. 
  • Go to the basement or storm shelter if you have one. Avoid areas where heavy objects (like a piano or refrigerator) are on the floor above you as they could fall through the floor and injure you.  
  • Cover yourself with a heavy object such as a table, mattress, sleeping bag, plastic, etc. This will protect you from broken glass or flying debris.  
  • If you do not have a basement or storm shelter, go to the room at the lowest level in the home, preferably an interior room, hallway, or bathroom.  
  • Lie on the floor in the middle of the room away from windows and corners where objects tend to collect.  
  • Stay in place until you are sure the tornado has passed.

If you are in a vehicle

  • Seek sturdy shelter immediately and follow the steps above in “If you are at home.”  
  • If there is no shelter, find a place below ground level, such as in a ditch. Get out of your vehicle and lie as low to the ground as you can, protecting your head with a jacket or other covering.  
  • If there is no place below ground level, park your vehicle in a safe place, out of traffic lanes. Leave the car running so the air bags will work. Keep your seat belt on and your head below window level. Protect your head with a blanket, jacket, hands, etc. 
  • Do not park your vehicle under a bridge or overpass. These areas act as wind tunnels. 
  • Do not try to outrun a tornado if it is close. If the tornado is far away and the traffic is light, drive at a right angle to it to get out of its path.

If you are in a mobile home

  • Mobile homes cannot withstand the winds of a tornado, so it is important to seek sturdy shelter immediately. If there is enough time, drive or walk to another home or building.  
  • If there is not enough time to get to a sturdy shelter, get outside away from trees, utility lines, and possible flying debris and lie low to the ground or in a ditch. Cover your head with your hands for protection.  
  • If there is no low lying area, get into a vehicle. Follow the steps outlined above in “If you are in a vehicle.”

 If you are inside

  • Drop to the floor as soon as you feel the shaking movement. The idea is to get down before you are  knocked down. In this position, you can crawl to a safe place.  
  • Cover your head and neck with your arms.
  • Stay away from windows.  
  • If possible, get under a sturdy piece of furniture to protect yourself from falling objects or crawl to an interior wall away from windows.  
  • Hold on to something if you can.  
  • If there is nothing to hold on to, curl up into a fetal position to protect your vital organs.  
  • DO NOT run out of the building unless you are in an area where structures are known to be substandard and apt to collapse.

If you are outside

  • If you are outside when the shaking of an earthquake begins, immediately get away from buildings, streetlights, signs, poles, or anything that could fall on you.  
  • Once you are in an open place, remember to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” 
  • Watch out for falling electric lines.

If you are in a vehicle

  • If the vehicle is moving, stop as soon as you can. It is difficult to drive with the ground shaking.  
  • If possible, avoid parking the car near buildings, trees, overpasses or utility poles.  
  • Stay parked until the shaking has passed.  
  • Avoid driving anywhere that may be damaged such as bridges or ramps.