Shelter in-place tips

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Alessandra N. Gamboa
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
While there seems to be no safe place during a tornado, there are several tips and locations outlined by the 28th Civil Engineer Squadron readiness and emergency management flight for Airmen to know so they can be better prepared when a natural disaster strikes.

When danger hits, the safest shelter varies depending on where an Airman finds himself, according to Staff Sgt. Jessica Clayton, 28th CES emergency management flight NCO in charge of plans and operations.

If Airmen are at home, she said the basement is the safest place and offers them the best protection. If this is not an option, seeking shelter in a hallway or a small room such as a bathroom or closet on the first floor is the next safest place.

If seeking shelter in a bathroom, it is best to get into the bathtub and seek cover under heavy blankets or a mattress.

The main safety tip for Airmen to remember whenever they're indoors, is to keep away from exterior walls and windows to avoid being hurt by broken glass or debris.

If Airmen find themselves at a shopping center or out in the community, they should proceed to a designated shelter area and not go outside to their vehicles.

If Airmen are already in their vehicles when they see a tornado or hear a warning siren, Sergeant Clayton added, they should leave their vehicle and seek shelter in a nearby building. If no buildings are nearby, they should lie flat in a ditch, ravine or gully and stay as low to the ground as possible. Airmen should also cover their heads to protect themselves from hail and be aware of potential flooding due to heavy rainfall.

An important tip for Airmen outdoors to keep in mind is to never seek shelter in the girders of overpasses - this space is dangerous.

Airmen in mobile homes should evacuate the homes immediately and seek shelter in a designated storm shelter within the mobile home park. If this is not possible, Airmen can protect themselves by seeking outdoor shelter on low, covered ground such as in a ditch or in ground that has a dip in it.

The most important thing in every scenario is to take shelter immediately as soon as a tornado is detected, either visibly or audibly by a warning siren. Also, if a television or radio is accessible, Airmen should turn it on to a local station and await further information and instruction.

For more information about severe weather safety tips, call the 28th CES emergency management flight at (605) 385-1366 or visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency web site at