Tornado Safety

Photo: NSSL
Fire: 913-895-8400
Police: 913-395-6300

Tornado & Severe Weather Safety

It is important to have a plan for your family or business in the event severe weather occurs in your area.


  • Weather radios are recommended for notification of severe weather for people inside buildings.
  • National Weather Service has various cell phone applications for weather alerts.
  • Bookmark your favorite weather website for the latest information.
  • Commercial radio and TV stations in your area broadcast information in the event of a tornado watch or warning.
  • Sign up for tweets from your preferred weather forecaster via Twitter or Facebook. You must either have an active account or create one to receive and view information.
    • 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 - time to take cover!
  • Outdoor sirens are not intended to be a notification for anyone who happens to be indoors. They are intended to be a signal for anyone outdoors to go inside and seek shelter.

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.

Seeking Shelter

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

If you do not have a basement, we advise you to 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.

You want to put as many walls between you and the outside as possible.

It used to be that people were advised to get underneath a heavy piece of furniture, but it is no longer recommended. Instead, it is advised that you crouch down next to a heavy piece of furniture and cover your head. If that piece of furniture also collapses it may still provide a pocket of refuge.

Basement Shelter

If you can get into a basement, do not go into a specific corner, instead 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 (indoors!), and do NOT open your windows!