Tornado Safety

It is important to have a plan for your family or business in the event severe weather occurs in your area. PrepareMetroKC offers a personalized, online family disaster plan tool.

Many times, there is not much time between a tornado warning going into effect and when a tornado actually strikes. That is why it is important for you to make your plans and have supplies already placed in your area of shelter before severe weather occurs. Once a tornado warning occurs all that should be left to do is for you to go to your basement or area of refuge.


A Tornado Watch means tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms.

A Tornado Warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. If there is a tornado warning, it's time to take cover.

  • Outdoor sirens sound during a Tornado Warning. They are intended to be a signal for anyone outdoors to go inside and seek shelter.
  • Weather radios are recommended for notification of severe weather for people inside buildings.
  • The National Weather Service has various cell phone applications for weather alerts.
  • Commercial radio and TV stations in your area broadcast information in the event of a tornado watch or warning.

Seeking Shelter

There are no designated "public storm shelters" in Overland Park.

If you do not have a basement, seek shelter at a neighbor's house or neighboring business that may have a basement. If this is not possible, do the following:

  • go to the lowest level available,
  • interior most part of the building,
  • away from all windows, glass, skylights, etc.,
  • inside a small area - like bathroom or closet.

Put as many walls between you and the outside as possible.

Basement Shelter

If you can get into a basement, go underneath the stairwell and cover yourself with a mattress or blanket. Put bicycle helmets on kids, wear sturdy shoes, put infants in car seats, and do not open your windows.