Find a Safe Place

Know where to go when severe weather or a natural disaster strikes.

Determining your family’s “safe places” could be the key to saving lives during an emergency. This must be done ahead of time, with input from all family members. Practice getting to your designated safe place quickly.


  • At home: Go to the lowest level and away from windows, in a small room (bathroom or closet) in the center of the house. (Closet walls help provide more roof support, and each wall between you and the outside will provide further protection.) Then, get under something sturdy to help protect your head and neck from flying or falling objects.
  • If you have a basement, make that your safe place.
  • In a mobile home: Go to a sturdy building nearby. If your mobile home park has a designated shelter, use it. Mobile homes are not safe in a tornado; in fact, before 1994, most manufactured homes were not designed to withstand even moderate winds.
  • In the car: Drive to a nearby sturdy building, if possible, go to the lowest level, without windows. If you can’t find a building, get out of the vehicle, lie down in a low spot on the ground not subject to flooding and protect your head and neck.


  • Being safe is about getting away from the fire. Fire spreads quickly; there is no time to gather valuables or make a phone call. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five, your house can be engulfed in flames.
  • At home: “Find. Review. Practice.” Find two ways out of each room. Review each room’s escape route with your family. Practice escaping from each room, using an escape ladder from each second-story room.
  • Teach children to stay low to the floor (where the air is safer) when escaping from a fire.
  • Make sure windows are not painted shut and can open easily, and that security bars can be removed from the inside.
  • Once outside, send someone to call 9-1-1. If anyone is missing, give that information to the fire department immediately and tell them where the probable location of the missing person could be. Under no circumstances should anyone re-enter the burning building.


  • If the ground begins to shake, your safe place is inside, under a sturdy piece of furniture. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and stay indoors until the shaking has stopped and you know you are safe.
  • If you’re inside: “Drop, Cover & Hold.” Drop to the ground. Take cover under a sturdy piece of furniture, like a table. Hold on until the shaking stops.
  • If there isn’t any protection, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall.
  • Stay in bed if you are already there, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. Protect your head with a pillow and hold on.
  • Do not use the elevators if you are in an office or other public building.
  • Stay inside until shaking stops. (Research shows that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside or try to get outside.)
  • If you’re outside: Move away from buildings, streetlights and utility wires and stay where you are safest. (Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of injury or death. Most casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass and falling objects.)
  • If you’re in a vehicle: Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Try not to stop near or under trees, overpasses, buildings and utility wires.