How To Survive A Tornado In A House

Surviving a tornado in a house


Today we’re looking at how to survive a tornado while being stuck inside a house.

If you find yourself stuck inside a house when a tornado strikes, not all is lost. There are some things you can do, and there are some things you should not do. We’re going to explore all of this.

Most often, you can’t really prepare for a tornado because you have no idea when they’ll strike. The tornado could strike when you’re on the toilet, or when you’re in the bath.

It could even be when you’re asleep. That being said, there are still things you can o to increase your chances of surviving.

The danger of tornadoes – We don’t need to tell you how dangerous tornadoes can be. They kill people almost every year.  The thing is, you can’t really outrun them though many people try. They can travel at over 60mph, and there aren’t a whole lot of people who can run that fast. The flying debris can kill you instantly, specially when there’s cut glass and sharp objects flying around at eye level.

Being stuck inside when a tornado strikes – The lucky thing is that if you find yourself stuck inside a house when a tornado strikes, you’re more likely to survive than if you’re outside. This is because you have the protection of the house, however you also have lots of debris all around you inside the house.

Things like your frying pan, your bookshelf and any number of items are all there lying around ready to be thrown at your face.

We’ll cover how to prepare for that sort of thing later, but for now let’s just look at how to actually stay alive when a tornado hits your house.

How to survive a tornado inside a house or apartment

With just a little preparation and knowledge you can survive a tornado hitting your apartment.

We’ll go over some basic things here. Firstly, make sure to get your mindset in the right place – Don’t panic when it happens. Lots of people find that they just run around screaming and going crazy. It’s understandable of course, because there’s a tornado smashing up your house but it won’t help you. Focused action will save you.

Try to remain calm, no matter how difficult it may be. Staying calm will not only help you but it will make others around you calm down a bit more. People will look at you remaining calm and actually start to feel more in control themselves.

If they see you screaming, they’re more likely to panic, and everyone will just be going crazy.

Should you leave the house?


If a tornado strikes your house, you should stay inside.

This is because as we said earlier, you have a huge amount of protection in the form of walls and the roof. This stuff will absorb most of the impact from things like debris and flying stuff from outside. stay inside, unless you really have to go outside to rescue someone in the garden for example.

Mobile homes – If you’re in a mobile home when a tornado strikes, then you should certainly leave the house. This is because mobile homes are weaker in structure, and much more likely to be lifted up into the air if the tornado is strong enough. Their walls don’t provide hardly any protection anyway, and end up being more dangerous to stay inside than if you just walked outside.

If you’re in a mobile home at the time then try and run outside and seek a stronger building like a shop or a brick and mortar house.

Avoid windows and close them if you can

Wherever possible, avoid going near windows.

If you have a few minutes before the tornado strikes, (for example if you live in an area where strikes are frequent and there’s a tornado warning) then try and close all windows and if you can, put something solid or strong against each of the main windows. Things like tables, furniture, mattresses, and pillows. Also, closing all the curtains will help as well.

This is because the curtains and furniture that you put in the way will help to absorb some of the impact from the debris. A common myth is that you should open all windows to hep with the pressure of the tornado or something like that. This is wrong, and you shouldn’t do that.

Instead, close all windows, put as much as you can in front of them to block out debris, and close all curtains. 

Go to the lowest room or the basement

Now what you’re going to do is go to the lowest room in the house, ideally a basement.

Go there and shut the doors behind you. If you’ve had time, then close all windows as mentioned before, but if not just get to the basement. If you don’t have a basement, then just go to the lowest room in your house.

If you don’t have a basement, go to the bathroom – If you’re not got a basement, the bathroom is the best place to shelter form a tornado in your house. This is because the bathroom usually has a pretty strong structure. There are usually pipes running through the walls in the bathroom, which will provide that bit more potation from debris. Also, bathrooms usually only have one small window and it’s not usually that big.

If your bathroom is like that, go there and crouch down in the bathtub, ideally with something proetctive over you like a mattress, table, cushions, etc..

Get low down

Whatever room you’re in, get low down and cover your vulnerable areas. It’s best to lie down on your front to cover up your vital organs, and ideally wear a helmet to protect your head. The lower you are, the less chance there is of something flying and hitting you in the face.

Fortunately, because you’re in a house or apartment you have the benefit of a lot of stuff around you to protect you.

Cover yourself to protect from flying debris

You want to put as much stuff as you can between you and the tornado.

Cover yourself with things like –

  • Mattresses
  • Tables
  • Bits of wood
  • Cushions
  • Furniture
  • Multiple layers of clothing (If you have time)

Wearing many layers of clothing will increase your chances.. Imagine there’s a knife flying through the air and it hits you. You’re much more likely to survive if you’re wearing 5 layers of clothing compared to if you were just in your bathrobe. You might want to check out this tactical body armour

Putting lots of things like matters between you and the tornado will also help for the same reason.

Prepare for a tornado strike in your house

There are a few things you can do to prepare for a tornado strike on your house before it actually happens.

Of course, you’ll never really know when it’s going to happen but you can prepare a few things beforehand that will make a big difference when it happens. Basically, you’re going to want to ensure that all loose objects in the house that don’t need to be there, are gone.

They don’t need to be thrown away, but the more things that are loose and just all over the house is just more stuff that a tornado could pick up and throw at you. Hopefully you can see that the more you have out, the more danger you’re in. Especially if you’re in an area which is prone to tornado strikes, just make sure everything that doesn’t need to be out is put away or in a safe place.

You could put these sorts of things in a cupboard or drawers. Also bare in mind that any sharp objects are a hazard. Things like knives in the kitchen should always be kept in a draw, so that if a tornado strikes while you’re in the house they won’t be flung at you!

Make a tornado prep room in your house!

In your house you could make a special room which is your chosen tornado survival room. If you have a basement, this will be that. If not, then a strong room like a bathroom will be perfect. In this room, you’ll want to put a few things to prepare for the tornado. These are things that will be important when you’re hit.

When a tornado strikes, often it disables power for the area. Power going out means no light, so you need lights in your prep room.

Here are a few examples of lights you could use –

You’ll also need food, as if you’re blocked in by loads of debris, you may have to wait a while for someone to come and rescue you. If you’d like to prepare for this scenario, check out our survival food prep section!

Make sure that for this room in particular, the window has a curtain which can be closed easily, and the room also has a closable door. If it’s the basement, then this isn’t a problem at all.

You will survive!

Stay positive. You will survive, and it’s important to stay focused and not panic.

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