TYLER, Texas (KETK) — With an already active storm season in late February and early March, shelter from the storm might be top of mind for many East Texans.

“Well, if a tornado comes, the only safe place to be is underground,” said Kevin Gardner, the Sales Manager at Maverick Manufactured Homes

While shelters may not be necessary, they offer protection from tornadoes. 

“I don’t care what type of structure it is, if it’s above ground and an F3 tornado with 200 mph wind hits, the building above ground isn’t going to survive,” Gardner said.

When bad weather hits, Garder suggests going underground.

“We have shelters that hold eight people, all the way up to 15 people, the largest holds 15 people, so about a 12 to 15-foot area,” said Gardner.

He explained how the shelters are in the ground, “Anchored, like mobile home anchors, undergrounds additionally they have concrete and steel pipes that hold them in the ground,” Gardner said.

Whether it’s in your safe place at home or in a storm shelter, keeping non-perishable food, water and blankets is important.

“Obviously you’re going to want flashlights, weather radios, and something you wouldn’t think of, but a jack, if a tree falls over or something you’re going to be able to want to get out of there. So, a jack is a very good thing to have inside there,” Gardner said.

When waiting out a storm, it’s also a good idea to have a first aid kit and warm clothing on hand.

“There’s different types of shelters, ease of getting in is a big deal. If you’re in a hurry to get into one if you can’t get in a hurry that’s going to be a problem,” Gardner said.

He also recommends fiberglass shelters because they are easy for elderly people, and pets to access.

“Definitely recommend registering with your fire department so that way if they’re looking for someone, they know where to look for you,” said Gardner.

To register your shelter, make a call to your local fire department. 

If you don’t have a storm shelter, the National Weather Service recommends going to the lowest level floor and being in a room away from windows.

“In homes or public buildings: go to the basement or a small interior room, such as a closet, bathroom, or an interior hall on the lowest level. Close all doors to the hallway for greater protection. If possible, get under something sturdy like a heavy table. Protect yourself from flying debris with pillows, heavy coats, blankets or quilts. Use bicycle or motorcycle helmets to protect your head,” according to information from the National Weather Service Website.