5th SEASON: Finding your safe space before storms hit

5th Season: Finding your safe space before storms hit
Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 6:41 PM CST
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Of the many storms we experience here in the Southern Plains, it only takes one to cause life-threatening ruin.

When the stakes are up, knowing where to go and how to prepare when it all comes barreling down will be the difference in survival. Whether you live in a home or in an apartment, here’s what to look out for before the next severe weather event.

First we explore the areas in a house to go and the correct precautions to take in one during a severe storm or tornado. Sam Haubrick from HHI Home Inspections walks us through his insight.

“In order to be prepared, you’re going to have to pick out that safe location that you feel in your house”

“So living room area obviously is on your exterior walls. That’s where you’re going to get the most impact from the outside storm. You got glass on the outside, windows that can shatter.”

For most homes, the interior part of a house is usually the bathroom or closet, best regarded for their structurally-sound location away from most windows.

“This is probably one of those areas that I would go to if I was trying to protect my family. You have all four walls that are secure. I would probably bring some blankets and stuff into this room and lay in that tub until the storm passes. That tub is going to give you some protection, and then obviously blankets or pillows to make it as comfortable as you can and then also for protection from flying whatevers in that bathroom”

If a bathroom isn’t the best place for you and your family to hunker down, a closet is another great option.

“This specific closet is dead center in the middle of the house. You have four supporting walls which is going to be structurally your best place to be, and then no windows obviously in a closet. But you’re surrounded by soft objects, clothes, shoes, and stuff like that.”

However, stressful situations can arise and you may not have time to react to getting to your safe space, such as the sudden onset of a severe storm or tornado waking you up in the middle of the night.

“So obviously the storms come in and you’re caught off guard so you’re trying hunker down, maybe by the bed or under the bed, that’s not gonna do you any good necessarily because you have a window and exterior wall.”

“But if you’re caught off guard, and all the sudden you hear it, it’s the house starting to breathe if you will, I would exit right into that closet, hunker down.”

Apartments are also popular places to live in, though there are slightly different ways to prepare compared to houses. Many apartments are small, meaning not as many places to take shelter, as well as the fact that a lot of units are not on ground level.

“You’re on the third floor on this particular apartment complex, so you’re vulnerable to any kind of wind or outside movement on top, so you’re you’re literally gonna experience the storm in a in a more threatening way”

“If you can make it to the lower level, I would go all the way down and hunker down underneath those steps down below, it makes it really tough to find a safe place in here. Even in an apartment complex, you’re still gonna want to find a center wall that’s that’s supported by all four walls without windows”

However, not everyone lives in an apartment or house, and some dwellings are more dangerous to stay in when a severe storm approaches. One example of this are mobile homes.

“Mobile homes are some of the most dangerous places to be in during a severe storm or a tornado. This is due to their layout & floor plan, as well as the nature of how they are built and implemented. If a tornado or severe storm is headed your way, you need to find a safe place to hunker down, whether that’s inside of a storm shelter, inside of a building, or in a more study structure with friends and family, such as a house. If you can’t do any of that, go and find a low-lying area away from cars and trees, and make sure to protect your head.”