Picking a shelter

Know where to go when a storm hits.
Oklahoman Modified: March 9, 2013 at 7:47 pm •  Published: March 11, 2013
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The key to tornado survival is a safety plan. Your plan at home should be known by everyone in the home and practiced at least twice each year. Children who may be at home alone should know what to do and where to go.

Shelter goals

Your goals in selecting a shelter should be:

• Get as low as possible — completely underground is best.

• Put as many barriers between you and the outside as possible.

Storm cellars and basements

If the entrance to a storm cellar is outside, you should allow time to get there before the storm arrives.

A basement is also a good shelter in most cases. If your basement is not totally underground, or has outside doors or windows, stay as far away from them as possible.

Use coverings (pillows, blankets, sleeping bags, coats, etc.) and helmets to shield your head and body and to protect yourself from flying debris.

Safe rooms

A reinforced safe room is as good as an underground shelter in most situations. Safe rooms are specially designed reinforced tornado shelters built into homes, schools and other buildings.

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No underground room

If you're like most people, you don't have an underground shelter. In this case, you need to find a location that is as close to the ground as possible, as far inside the building as possible, away from doors, windows and outside walls, and is as small as possible.

Other shelter ideas

• Bathrooms: These may be good shelters, provided they are not along an outside wall and have no windows.

• Closets: A small interior closet might be a shelter.

• Hallways: Be sure to shut all doors to create as many barriers as possible between you and the flying debris in and near a tornado.

• Under stairs: The space underneath a stairwell could be used.

Mobile homes

Even an EF1 tornado most likely will severely damage a mobile home, possibly rolling it over. Mobile homes are especially susceptible to high winds. Consider executing the safety plan when a watch is issued instead of waiting for the warning.

SOURCE: NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE


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