Severe Storms

The First Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability (FTAAAD), in conjunction with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and other First Tennessee area service agencies, has put together a disaster preparedness guide specifically for Tennesseans age 60 and older. 

The four seasons, together they're one of Tennessee's biggest attractions. But when hot and cold air meet, when moisture moves in from the west or the remnants of a hurricane or tropical storm creep up from the south, residents know we have to pay attention. We may not be among the states traditionally considered part of Tornado Alley, but we've shown we can hold our own against those other states when it comes to tornado and wind damage.

Prepare For Severe Storms and Tornadoes

  • Learn the warning signs. Most tornadoes occur in the late afternoon on a hot spring day, but they can occur in any month of the year and at all times of the day or night.
  • Learn if a community warning system is in place (in case a tornado develops).
  • Identify a safe place in your dwelling away from windows, skylights, and glass doors. A basement is the best choice.
  • Maintain a disaster supply kit.  (Refer to the Disaster Preparedness Checklist.)
  • Have first aid instructions available for emergencies.  A first aid kit should be included in your disaster supply kit.
  • Have a radio (a NOAA weather radio is recommended), along with extra batteries, in your dwelling. *There are radios that can be comfortably powered with a hand crank, which means you wouldn't have to worry about batteries.
  • Inventory your possessions for insurance purposes. Keep a copy of the inventory in a safe deposit box or other safe place away from your dwelling.
  • Prepare a family plan for this specific emergency.

During a Storm

  • Seek shelter when thunder increases in consistency or volume.
  • Watch for lightning strikes and increasing wind gusts.
  • Listen to your radio or television stations for updates.
  • Avoid using landline telephones and electrical appliances. A lightning strike could travel through these.
  • Avoid taking baths or showers during a thunderstorm.
  • Close blinds or shades over windows in case of excessive wind. Shattered window glass can be somewhat contained behind window coverings—better than nothing at all.

During a Tornado

  • When a warning is activated, seek shelter in a basement under something sturdy, such as a workbench. If there is no basement, then shelter in a small interior room in the middle of the building, like a closet or bathroom. Get away from glass, or get under or behind something that will protect you from flying broken glass.
  • If you're in a mobile home, evacuate as soon as a tornado watch or severe wind advisory is announced.
  • Following a tornado or severe winds, watch for downed power lines. If you don't need to leave your house, stay home. Give cleanup crews time to do their jobs before you go out. It's safer for you, and you stay out of their way.


Tornado Watch—Conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop. Take precautions to protect you and your property and listen to your radio for updates.

Tornado Warning—A tornado has actually been sighted. If in your area, seek shelter immediately.