When severe weather strikes, do you know where to go?

It’s important to locate your safe place before danger hits, so you’ll know what to do to keep you and your family safe. 

We went inside the Winters’ home in Lakesite and the Dixon Team Keller Williams office in Collegedale to learn more about how to identify a safe place inside a home or office in the Tennessee Valley.

TRACK THE STORMS | Channel 3 Storm Alert iRadar

A basement is the best place to be in severe weather, but many buildings in the Tennessee Valley don’t have that option. However, there are other places to seek shelter and areas to avoid. 

First, stay away from rooms with windows. If a strong gust of wind blows through, even without a tornado, it could shatter the glass and send it flying across the room.

Rooms with outside walls also are dangerous. Even without windows, they won’t stand a chance in a tornado.

Don’t even consider an upper story floor. It will be the next thing to go after the roof.

READ MORE | Pre-storm checklist

An interior bathroom is often a good choice if it’s away from outside walls and windows. The plumbing can also help make the room a little stronger.

A laundry room could be another good choice, once again, if it’s away from outside walls and windows. The plumbing in a laundry room isn’t as strong as that in a bathroom, but it still offers some additional support.

In the Winters’ home in Lakesite, the pantry is the best option. It’s located under the stairwell, which is usually a very strong part of the house. Those locations usually fare better than others in the event of a tornado. Similarly, a closet under a stairwell could also be a good option.

When you reach your safe place, get as low as you can to the ground and cover your head. It’s also a good idea to grab a pillow or something else padded for additional protection from flying glass or objects, if you have the time to do so.

If there’s a tornado watch, it’s a good idea to go through your safe place and make sure it’s ready to access quickly. Remove any unnecessary objects from the room and ensure there’s a clear path inside.

Nancy Winters said she and her children have taken refuge in the downstairs half bathroom in the past during severe weather, but she never thought about using the pantry.

READ MORE | Hamilton County family shares story of tornado survival

Identifying a safe place in an apartment building will work the same way. Avoid upper floors and rooms with windows and exterior walls. If you live on an upper floor, consider identifying another safe place to go in your apartment complex. Most complexes include offices, clubhouses or recreation areas that may offer more protection if they’re accessible during a tornado watch or warning.

Mobile homes are not a safe place to be during severe weather no matter where you are inside. It's best to try to seek shelter somewhere else if a tornado watch is issued in your area. 

Severe weather can strike anywhere at any time and we may not be at home when It hits.

When we walked into the Dixon Team Keller Williams office in Collegedale, the first thing that stands out is the row of windows at the front of the building. Once again, avoiding rooms with windows is the best idea.

Cubicles also are not a good place to be. However, if you’re caught unprepared and don’t have time to go anywhere else, hit the floor and cover your head.

The Dixon Team Keller Williams office has a few closets, but they don’t offer the best protection in this situation, because they either include an exterior wall or partitions that don’t stretch all the way to the ceiling.

The best place to go in this office is the bathroom.

Sometimes you have a great place to go and sometimes you don’t. The important thing is to make the most of what you have and know where to go to seek the most possible protection.

No matter where you are, there are a few basic points to remember:

  • Try to get underground if possible
  • Stay away from windows
  • Avoid rooms with exterior walls
  • Steer clear of upper floors
  • Stay low to the ground and cover your head
  • Try to find extra padding for protection from flying objects

At home and at work, it’s also important to have a weather radio and keep fresh batteries in it, so you’ll know when severe weather is in your area and could be a threat to you.

We'd also recommend adding the WRCB news and Weather apps to your smartphone or tablet.