Surviving A Tornado When Your Home May Not
Tornadoes are one of the more frightening weather phenomenons in nature. They have lead to some heartbreaking tragedies in recent years, like the kids in Oklahoma who lost their lives when an EF5 tornado tore through their elementary school last summer.
Shortly thereafter another massive twister claimed the lives of tornado researcher Tim Samaras and three other veteran storm chasers. On top of that, a number of tornadoes in recent years have claimed dozens or even hundreds of lives.
This increased carnage may be the result of higher intensity storms, or it might just be that these twisters are hitting more often in populated areas. Perhaps it’s both. Either way, a little bit of planning and preparation will go a long way towards keeping your family safe. Here are a few things you should think about.
A) Arming your children to survive a tornado.
The majority of tornado injuries and deaths are caused by flying debris. So finding ways to guard against blows to the head or body can increase your odds of survival.
For example, if you hear of a tornado warning, have your child put on their bicycle helmet. A baseball catcher’s vest or martial arts sparring gear can also provide protection for other areas of the body. (Just be sure to keep their hands free so that they can grip something if needed.) Then get into the safest place in your house and throw couch cushions on tope of everyone.
The idea of shielding your child against a tornado may seem silly, but it works. I remember one little girl in particular who was saved because she had her bicycle helmet on when a tornado tore through her home. The helmet she was wearing was split in two when a flying object struck her in the head. Thanks to the helmet, her skull emerged undamaged.
Her life was saved only because her parents took this extra precaution of using a bicycle helmet. Had they not had the presence of mind to have her put it on, this little child would likely have died.
B) Knowing when to leave the area.
The dedicated research done by tornado experts in the field has paid dividends, making it so that forecasters are much better at predicting which storms are likely to produce violent tornadoes. With more lead time, you might want to think about getting someplace safe before it arrives, especially if you know your home is a death trap.
At least 9 times out of 10, these little excursions to grandma’s house (or wherever else you choose to go) will all be for not. Yet for many families who played it safe like this, it’s been a lifesaver. They left the area and returned to a flattened house that they surely would have been killed in had they been home at the time.
Just be sure to leave well in advance if you decide to do this. If a warning has been issued and there’s a tornado already on the ground, that’s not the time you want to climb in your car and try to outrun it.
C) Plan ahead for your survival.
If you live in a home without a basement or storm shelter that you know wouldn’t survive a tornado, planning ahead is crucial. Check around to see if neighbors have a basement or storm shelter that you can share. About that, look into nearby commercial buildings that might offer better protection. Getting underground is ideal, but a sturdy cement or steel building with small interior rooms tends to offer better protection than a trailer or wood-frame house.
This may sound like a lot of work, but the effort is worth it. Having a safe-haven picked out ahead of time could spell the difference between life and death. Ideally you’ll want to have one or two alternatives picked out, all within two or three minutes of your home. Get there right away if a tornado warning is issued, assuming you can do so safety.
If all goes well, the only tornado encounter you’ll ever have will involve admiring powerful storms from a safe distance. But should the time come when one does get a little too close for comfort, these tips will help ensure that property is the only thing damaged.