Tornado Warning- wherein to go without a Basement
Photo by Nikolas Noonan on Unsplash

Posted By: adminMay 5, 2019

Do girlfriend live in a tornado prone area? i do, and when my wife and I moved 3000 miles across the nation to the South, ns was surprised to discover out that most houses in our area execute not have basements. Many homes around here space on a slab foundation, and also I was told that one of the reasons for this is due to flooding dangers in ours area. I did part research about where to go for sanctuary if we have actually a tornado warning, and also below is what I have found together with some other tornado safety advice. The safest place to be throughout a Tornado Warning is totally underground or in a safe room. If you have actually an underground shelter, basement, or access to a safe-room constructed to FEMA standardsduring a tornado warning, use it.

You are watching: Is a crawl space safe during a tornado

If not, listed below is some advice because that you.

If you carry out not have a basement, safe-room, or secret shelter throughout a tornado warning, and you don’t have time to go somewhere the does, walk to the lowest level that the building you room in to a small interior room through no windows, choose a closet, bathroom,or under a stairwell. Have as numerous walls in between you and also the exterior as possible.Consider taking shelter in the tub since it may be anchored straight to the floor, and the plumbing may reinforce the wall surfaces for additional protection. If possible, defend yourself with blankets, couch cushions, pillows, and/or various other objects.

If you live in an upstairs apartment or condo, or have actually neighbors that do have a basement, try to develop a good relationship with them, and also discuss the possibility that seeking sanctuary in your apartment/house throughout a tornado warning.

Also, part businesses and/or Public buildings may have community tornado shelter/safe room developed to FEMA standards. If your area has actually a localemergency preparedness department, call them to view if they have information concerning local tornado shelters. Be mindful that this shelters might not always be open at night or on the weekends.

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Tornado Watch/Warning in ~ Night

In tornado vulnerable areas, tornado watches at night while you are resting are rather common. If girlfriend have family members or friends that live close to you v a basement in their home, you may desire to ask lock if you can sleep in their basement if you have a tornado clock issued during the night.

According to the articles that ns read, the average time indigenous receiving a tornado warning till the time it strikes your location (if that strikes her location) is about 13 minutes.

In some cases, girlfriend may have an ext time to uncover shelter if the is a long tracking tornado.Know what your options; if you have actually time, consider getting come a structure with a better shelter if your residence does not have a basement. If you execute seek a sanctuary away from friend location, make sure you have enough time to get to it; there may be a many traffic if rather are also trying come escape the tornado or get to far better shelter.

There have actually been multiple nights when there has been a tornado watch issued all night lengthy while us were sleeping, and also our bedroom to be on the 2nd floor of the home that us were renting.

If we had actually a basement, we would have just slept in the basement every night, but because we didn’t, ns wanted to it is in woken up therefore we could go down to the toilet on the first floor if we had actually a tornado warning.

For those that you that don’t know, a Tornado Watch is issued if there room weather conditions the increase the likelihood the a tornado will develop. A Tornado Warning is issued if a tornado has been spotted or is shown by weather radar.

There space a couple the options for Emergency Tornado Alerts in ~ night while you are sleeping. In my case, ns wanted one Alert because that a Tornado Warning (Not a Tornado Watch), therefore it would certainly wake me up in the middle of the night if needed.

Emergency warns on you cell Phone

The first option come receive Emergency Alerts is on her cell phone. most smart phones today have actually an choice to receive Emergency Alerts and Amber Alerts, however older cabinet phones might not have actually this option.

If did you do it owned her phone fora small while, you have actually likely received one of these cautions if they room enabled. If you arrangement on making use of your phone call to wake up you throughout a tornado warning, make sure you have the alerts enabled and the volume for advises turned top top while you sleep.

What Emergency warns are sent to my phone?

In 2012, the Wireless Emergency alerts (WEA) device was activated, and alerts were sent out to people’s phones there is no any added apps or subscriptions needed.

The WEA sends out out Extreme Weather and other Threatening Emergencies, Amber Alerts, and also Presidential alerts during a national Emergency.

How to turn on Emergency Alerts- Iphone

Open settings on your IphoneTap on NotificationsScroll Down to the really Bottom the the ScreenUnder Government Alerts, make sure Emergency Alerts are Turned On

How to turn On Emergency Alerts- Android

Enabling Emergency warns is various on some android phones. I will tell you how I did the on mine Galaxy:

Open SettingsTap top top MessagesTap on Emergency AlertsYou deserve to Turn On/Off Extreme Alerts, Severe Alerts, and also Amber Alerts. Turning On/Off Presidential advises is no an option.

If the guide above does not work for your android, find your setups for “Cell Broadcasts”, “Emergency”, or in your notifications to view if friend can uncover them there. If that doesn’t work, go here, andherefor an ext information that may help.

Difference between Extreme Alerts and also Severe warns on Android

If you room wondering what the difference is in between Severe and also Extreme alerts when deciding what to revolve on/off, follow to, an Extreme Alert may consist of:

Tsunami WarningTornado WarningExtreme Wind WarningHurricane WarningTyphoon Warning

A Severe Alert mayConsists of:

Storm surging WarningSnow Squall WarningFlash flood WarningDust Storm Warning

NOAA Weather Radio

Another option because that receiving Emergency Alerts is purchase a NOAA Radio v Alerts. I recommend having actually a NOAA radio for your Emergency Kit nevertheless of if you setup on making use of it to wake up you up because that a tornado warning or not.


There room a the majority of different alternatives for NOAA radios, but I recommend buying one the can take it batteries as the primary or back-up power sourcein the occasion that you shed power in your area. I also recommend to buy a portable radio the you have the right to take with you if you need to evacuate your location.

every little thing you buy, make sure that you have actually it programmed come the ideal station, and make sure you check out the instructions so you understand that you will receive an alert that will certainly wake you increase if you obtain a tornado warning.

Should I enter my crawlspace during a tornado?

It Depends. I recognize that’s no the answer you’re trying to find (me neither), however I have actually read differing opinions online, and:

Some crawlspaces may be much more dangerous to it is in in 보다 an internal room top top the lowest floor because of the possibility of gift crushed by the building. The product of the foundation should it is in a determining element when deciding whether to seek shelter in your crawl an are or not, since the structure may weaken and move during a storm.

A structure built v cinder block or lumber will not market as much protection together a foundation made that concrete. If you perform take shelter in her crawl space, shot to protect against being under heavy objects, favor appliances or hefty furniture.

Below is a video clip (not made by me) about using a crawl space during a tornado:

Safest ar in the Basement throughout a Tornado

It to be once believed that the safest location was the SouthWest corner of the basement because of most storms coming from that direction, yet this is no much longer the case.

For those of you fortunate sufficient to have actually a basement throughout a tornado warning, the safest location in a basement is away indigenous any windows, and also towards the interior of the basement. Under the stairs is a an excellent option. Try to avoid being directly under heavy objects top top the floor above you, like appliances, a piano, or heavy furniture.

Tornado safe Rooms

A for sure Room design to satisfy FEMA guidelines (FEMA P-320, and also FEMA P-361) will carry out you v “very high probability the being safeguarded from injury or death“. This Safe Rooms may be either over ground or below ground. Friend may have actually Public or community Safe Rooms in your area.


If you very own your home, building or having a safe Room mounted is one option, return they room not cheap.Public funding may be obtainable to aid you through the price of structure a for sure room. Above ground for sure rooms may be a an excellent option because that the handicapped or elderly people, if getting below is difficult.

According come FEMA’s Website, FEMA does not endorse, approve, or certify any kind of products, and does not have actually an approval procedure for reviewing or certifying the architecture or building and construction of safe rooms. FEMA does not endorse any kind of contractors or for sure room installers.

Safe Room Installers should notify their client if their for sure rooms have actually been appropriately designed and built to satisfy FEMA’s guidelines, and also should administer supporting documentation of testing results.

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Some States have their own certification programs. Contact you State’s Emergency administration department to ask for more information.


I hope you uncovered the above information helpful. I currently live in a condo with a slab foundation (2nd home we have lived in due to the fact that moving come the South), yet am to plan on either buying a home with a basement, or building a safe room in house that we buy. For now, my plan is to seek shelter in my bathtub on the first floor if we get a tornado warning. Continue to be Safe!