Tornados and hurricanes are dangerous, extreme wind events. Both types of storms are likely to happen in specific geographies—tornados in the central plains of the U.S. and hurricanes along the Atlantic seaboard and Gulf Coast. Yet these storms can and do happen in other areas.
Tornados are typically not on the ground for long, but winds up to 318 mph in the most powerful events can cause significant damage in that time. Hurricanes present a different challenge—they also bring extreme winds up to 157 mph and can hover over the same land area for 12 to 24 hours.
Even for those who live and work outside areas that typically experience tornados or hurricanes, it is a good idea to know where to go to be safe inside your building in the case of an extreme wind event. This is called the best available refuge and FEMA has created documentation to help identify the safest areas within a structure.
Where is the safest room?
Selecting the best available refuge area
- Review construction drawings and inspect the building to identify the strongest portion(s) of the building.
- Assess the site to identify any potential tree, pole, or tower fall-down or windborne missiles.