The Heene family from Colorado live life on the edge. Wife Mayumi (43) and storm scientist Richard (45) take their three kids, Bradford (8), Ryo (7) and Falcon (5), out of school to go on storm chasing missions to prove Richard's theories about magnetic fields and gravity. If conditions are right, Mayumi wakes her family by shouting "Storm Approaching, Storm Approaching!" into a bullhorn. The family sleep in their clothes so they can leap out of bed and into the storm-mobile. Richard calls Mayumi his 'ninja wife'; she maintains equipment, drives the storm-mobile, films tornadoes and waits with the kids while Richard jumps on his motorbike, heads into the eye of the storm and launches rockets to measure magnetic forces. At home the family are as chaotic as a twister: the kids have no table manners and throw themselves around the house, and while Richard devotes every moment to his research, he expects Mayumi to cook, clean and run the house without any help.
Meanwhile on a quiet street in Connecticut, the Martel family -- wife Karen (43), husband Jay (50) and their two kids, Max (11) and Dean (10) -- live a life of calm and safety. Dad is so committed to safety that he runs a child-proofing business devoted to identifying dangers and risks and making sure kids stay out of harm's way. With all the precautions taken to keep them safe, Max and Dean seem to be afraid of everything..."you can fall down the stairs, get cancer from the microwave, get tapeworms from sushi, and the lava lamp could explode..." The Martels conduct safety fire drills, make sure the kids wear protective gear on their bikes and pogo-sticks and never let the boys out of their sight. The atmosphere in the house is calm and serene, and Karen and Jay are equal partners.