|In a storm shelter specifically designed for that use--within the basement or outside the home entirely. Some companies manufacture
pre-fab shelters that you drop into a hole in the ground, and that blends in with home landscaping(some more, some less).
In a basement, away from the west and south walls. Hiding under a heavy work-table or under the stairs will protect the family from
crumbling walls, chimneys, and large airborne debris falling into the cellar. A family in the April 8th, 1998 tornado in the Birmingham,
Alabama area survived because a hutch toppled and was held up by the dining room table they were under. That hutch helped deflect
the debris that would have struck them. Old blankets, quilts and an unused mattress will protect against flying debris, but they should
be stored in the shelter area. Precious time can be lost by trying to find these items at the last minute.
In a small, windowless, first floor, interior room like a closet or bathroom. The bathtub and commode are anchored directly into the
ground, and sometimes are the only thing left in place after the tornado. Getting into the bathtub with a couch cushion over you gives
you protection on all sides, as well as an extra anchor to the foundation. Plumbing pipes may or may not help hold the walls together,
but all the extra framing that it takes to put a bathroom together may make a big difference. If there is no downstairs bathroom and the
closets are all packed with "stuff," a hall may be the best shelter. Put as many walls as you can between yourself and the tornado. In a
pinch, put a metal trash over as much of you as you can. It will keep flying debris from injuring you. Even that may make the difference
between life and death.
Most tornado deaths occur in cars and mobile homes. If you live in a mobile home park, you should find out from the manager where
you should go in the event of a tornado--but don't wait until you really need the information--ask him/her on a nice day! Mobile home
parks may have a designated tornado shelter, or a steel reinforced concrete laundry room. If they don't, you need to find another
substantial structure that you can reach very quickly. You may have only seconds to get to it. Even 60-80 mph winds can do in a
mobile home. At 100 mph, they may start to disintegrate.
|Each year about a thousand tornadoes touch down in the US. Only a small percentage actually strike occupied buildings, but
every year a number of people are killed or injured. The chances that a tornado will strike a building that you are in are very
small, however, and you can greatly reduce the chance of injury by doing a few simple things.
One of the most important things you can do to prevent being injured in a tornado is to be ALERT to the onset of severe
weather. Most deaths and injuries happen to people who are unaware and uninformed. Young children or the mentally
challenged may not recognize a dangerous situation. The ill, elderly, or invalid may not be able to reach shelter in time.
Those who ignore the weather because of indifference or overconfidence may not perceive the danger. Stay aware, and you
will stay alive!
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