Tornadoes are most prevalent in Alabama between March and May, but they can happen any time of year depending on weather conditions. If you don’t have a safe room and a weather plan in place, take the time to do it today.  Alabama leads the nation in tornado deaths with 621 people killed since 1950.

Pick a safe room in your home where household members and pets may gather during a tornado. This should be a basement, storm cellar or an interior room or closet on the lowest floor with no windows. If you live in a mobile home, make arrangements to go somewhere else in the event of a tornado.

Consider having your safe room reinforced. Plans for reinforcing an interior room to provide better protection are available on the FEMA website.         

PRACTICE periodic tornado drills so that everyone knows what to do if a tornado is approaching.

The UAB Injury Control Research Center says helmets should be part of everyone’s tornado plan. In Jefferson County, at least 11 of 21 fatalities during the April 27, 2011 tornadoes were from head injuries – and nearly all victims were inside houses when the storms struck. Motorcycle, football and baseball batting helmets provide the most protection to the head, but even bicycle helmets can save lives. Store helmets for everyone in yourhousehold inside or near your safe room.

You may only have a few moments notice to take shelter from a tornado – and you may need to survive on your own without electricity, running water or other supplies for days if a tornado strikes. FEMA recommends having sufficient quantities of food, water and other supplies to last at least 72 hours. 

Download this Basic Supplies List to guide your preparation.

Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes so it is important to plan in advance:

  1. How you will get to a safe place (basement, storm shelter…)
  2. How you will contact one another
  3. How you will get back together
  4. What you will do in different situations

Everyone in your family should know where to go when you hear a Tornado Warning or suspect or tornado is nearby.

Download this Emergency Contact Plan to distribute to friends and family.

On a regular basis, remove diseased and damaged limbs from trees that could be hit your house or a neighbor’s during high winds and rain.  If a storm is imminent, move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.

There are many ways you can help your community prepare for tornadoes and other natural disasters. Volunteer to support disaster efforts, get trained and volunteer with a community response team, become involved with a local school, church or other community organization that provided services before, during and after an emergency.  Learn more about getting involved.  

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has resources to help businesses prepare for the impacts of many hazards including floods, hurricanes and tornadoes.  Learn how to plan for and protect your business.

Emergency Preparedness Materials for Teachers, Students and Families