Wisconsin Emergency Management

Tornado Safety in Schools

Every School Should Have a Severe Weather Safety Plan

Every School Should Have a Severe Weather Safety Plan

  • Develop an action plan with frequent drills. Review the plan annually and anytime changes are made to the building, shelters, or classroom sizes. A good time to practice is during the annual statewide Tornado Drills held in April.
  • Each school should be inspected and shelter areas designated by a registered engineer or architect. Basements offer the best protection. Schools without basements should use interior rooms and hallways on the lowest floor and away from windows. Put as many walls as possible between the students and the storm.
  • Make special provisions for disabled students and those in portable classrooms.
  • know the protection position
  • Ensure students know the protection position. It doesn't matter if the students face the wall or put their backs to the wall, as long as they cover their head.
  • Each school should have a NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards with battery back-up. Make sure the weather radio or other source of weather news is available, even during after-school activities.
  • If the school's alarm system relies on electricity, have an alternate method to notify teachers and students in case of power failure, such as an air horn or megaphone. Make sure everyone knows what the notification signal is.
  • Delay lunches or assemblies in large rooms if severe weather is anticipated. Gymnasiums, cafeterias, and auditoriums offer no protection from tornado-strength winds.
  • During threatening weather, keep children at school beyond regular hours until the storms pass. Children are safer at school than in a bus or car.
  • Hospitals, nursing homes, and other institutions should develop similar plans.
  • Tornado Preparedness for Schools

You can prepare for the dangers from severe weather by learning the safest places to seek shelter in the school. Learn basic weather terms and danger signs. The chances of staying safe during severe weather are greater if you have a plan for your school, and practice the plan frequently.

Tornado Safety
in Schools
Tornado Safety
at Home, work
or at Play
Stay Informed
with NOAA
Weather Radio

Severe Weather Watches and Warnings Family

Fact Sheet

ReadyWisconsin is an initiative of Wisconsin Emergency Management designed to educate and empower Wisconsinites to prepare for
and respond to all kinds of emergencies including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.

Wisconsin Emergency Management
2400 Wright St.
Madison, WI 53704
Phone: 608.242.3000     Fax: 608.242.3247