AUSTIN (KXAN) — Central Texas’ severe weather season is here. From March to early June is the time this area sees the majority of its severe thunderstorms.

April 5, 2023, has been set aside as the day for you and your family to review or develop a plan of where to go in your home if one of our KXAN First Warning Weather meteorologists comes on the air to say a tornado is affecting your hometown or neighborhood.

The National Weather Service in tandem with Weather-Radio Nation is asking you to be a part of Wednesday’s call to action by taking a selfie in your safe place and posting it. It’s called a Safe Place Selfie. Take a picture of you or your family in the safest part of your home and send it NWS by using the hashtag #SafePlaceSelfie.

Using the hashtag lets you join in the conversation and show others that important safe place.

On this day, Kristen Currie, Sean Kelly, Weather Producer Eric Henrikson and I found our safe space at the KXAN studios. And, lucky for us, we don’t have far to go as it’s just off the weather office.

Kristen, Sean, Eric and Rich in their Safe Place in case of severe weather
Kristen, Sean, Eric and Rich in their Safe Place in case of severe weather

We walked around the building looking for that one space that was free of glass and not attached to an outside wall. It’s also a small room with a limited roof-to-floor span.

But, what about you? Where would you go?

Safe place locations

The basement of your home is the most ideal location. Most basements have no windows. Basements are underground and offer much more protection than any other room in your home. The center of the basement is the best location there. If there is furniture you can get under, so much the better.

But some homes don’t have basements. Perhaps you’ve heard the bathroom is a good place to ride out a potential storm. This is true. A bathtub is usually anchored directly into the ground. Many times, it’s the only thing left in place after a tornado has struck. If this is your mode of safety, make sure you take a couch or seat cushion that you can place over your head to give you that extra layer of protection. Most importantly, if you are going to use the bathroom as your safe space, make sure it’s on the first floor.

Places to shelter in during a tornado
In your home do you know where to go?

Another ideal location is a lowest-floor closet. It can be a hall closet or a bedroom closet. The good thing about most closets is they are not connected to any outside wall. So you have at least two walls between you and the storm. The other good thing about being in the interior closet is it doesn’t have any windows. What’s even better is if something were to fall off the closet shelf, the distance it would travel in falling to the floor would be minimal.

One last place would be the space underneath a stairwell.

What if you live in an apartment on an upper floor? One of the best pieces of safety tips offered by experts is to make friends with a neighbor on the first floor so that when a warning is issued, you can quickly head down to ride out the storm with them. The opposite is true during a flood event. In that scenario, you would want to invite them to your upper-floor dwelling to stay with you.

Mobile homes are perhaps the worst place to be as they can be tossed about easily. A plan of action includes finding that safe place where you would go before a warning would ever be issued. Part of that action plan must also include having a way to get reliable weather information. You’re always in the know with our KXAN Weather App.

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Just like how schools have fire drills so, too, should you and your family have a similar safety drill so every member of the household knows where to go. And, make sure your fur babies are in that safe space.

But whether it’s the basement, bathtub, closet or stairwell, there is one more important thing you should do. Safety experts agree you should let someone outside your home know where your safe space will be in case a tornado does damage your home. This can be a neighbor or a family friend.