Where in the basement is the safest place to be in the event of a tornado striking a house?

Dear Tom,
Where in the basement is the safest place to be in the event of a tornado striking a house?
— Jill McDonald, Sycamore, Ill.
Dear Jill,
Let me state up front that there is no place in a basement that absolutely guarantees safety should a tornado strike your house. Freak events have occurred in which occupants did everything right, placing themselves in the best possible place in the basement, and yet they were killed. But your chance of survival can be increased by choosing the best possible location in the basement: under sturdy protection (heavy table, work bench, stairwell) along a wall. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above and don’t place yourself under them; they may fall through a weakened floor. Above all, have a tornado plan worked out in advance so you and your family can act quickly and appropriately.