It was a dark and stormy night… and you had no idea how to find the safest spot in your apartment building for you and your family to ride out the storm!
To avoid this situation, it’s a good idea to know in advance your options for staying safe at home during inclement weather.
Tough out a tornado
Tornadoes are one of the nastiest forms of dangerous weather because they seem to pop up almost instantly. If storms are blowing through, keep an ear to the radio, listening for tornado watch and warning announcements. A tornado watch means the weather conditions are conducive to tornadoes; a tornado warning means a tornado has actually been sighted.
Signs that a tornado is on the way include strangely-colored, greenish-black skies and loud rumbling that sounds something like a freight train. The tornado itself will appear as a funnel cloud, likely strewing debris in its path.
These signs indicate you should take cover, but where?
Finding a safe location is easier if you plan ahead. It’s certainly wise to talk to your landlord about building safety and ask him or her to identify safe places to seek shelter in your apartment structure.
If your apartment building has an accessible basement or storm-safe, underground room, go there before the storm reaches its peak. Otherwise, seek protection in interior rooms without windows, such as closets. Interior bathrooms are typically good spots to shelter from weather, as well. Protect your head and neck with a soft, sturdy cover like a blanket, if possible.
If you live on a high floor, you might make “storm buddies” with someone who lives on a lower floor. Set their apartment as your shared safe spot during a weather emergency, rather than your higher-floor home.
Handle a hurricane
The good thing about hurricanes is that you usually know when they are on the way and can evacuate the situation carefully based on weather warnings. Still, hurricanes can be sneaky due to high winds and storm surges which may cause unexpected flooding.
During a hurricane, apartment safety rules are similar to tornado scenarios. Find a safe location in rooms or areas with few or no windows for protection from high winds. With the possibility of flooding, seeking high ground is also important. Depending on your particular location and structure, you might need to move to upper-level hallways or safe, interior spaces on a higher floor.
Go ahead and make your emergency plan now to ensure you are ready when bad weather blows your way! Decide exactly where you will sit out the storm in your apartment unit or building.
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