A tornado is nearby and you must move fast. Everyone knows basements are the safest places to take shelter. But what happens if you live in a second or third-floor apartment? How can you stay safe in a tornado?
It isn’t as unlikely a scenario as you might think. Whether you live in Alaska, Florida or Texas, a tornado can reach you. Every state has a documented case of this destructive weather phenomenon. They’re more common in some states than others, but with the U.S. averaging 1,000-plus tornadoes each year, you still need a plan to protect yourself.
You need a P.A.C.T.
PREPARE: Second-floor apartment tornado safety starts with preparedness. Tornadoes can generate winds greater than 300 miles per hour, overturn houses, and crush buildings. It isn’t a good idea to improvise safety measures in the face of that power. Experts agree that you want to be on the lowest level of a building. Your apartment complex’s management team might have plans for such situations. They might include a basement storm shelter, storage/utility room, or laundry area. If no such plans exist, introduce yourself to your first-floor neighbors and discuss a plan. Additional preparation should include stocking first aid items and food and water.
ACT: All the preparation in the world won’t help if you fail to move fast once the time comes. In a photo that went viral online, one Canadian man mows his lawn as a large tornado swirls in the distance. This is a perfect example of what not to do! In the event of a tornado watch and listen to news broadcasts about any impending threats. If that tornado watch becomes a tornado warning, DO NOT DELAY. Seek shelter immediately.
CENTER: If your “Prepare” work didn’t identify suitable shelter, move to the center-most area of your apartment. Avoid windows and outside walls. Your best options will likely be a hallway or closet. You can also climb into the bathtub and cover yourself with thick padding, like a mattress or heavy blankets.
TEND: To your head! Wearing a helmet during a tornado is becoming more popular. That’s because head and neck injuries are common following tornado strikes. Covering your head during a tornado has always been recommended. It makes perfect sense, then, to don protective headgear such as a motorcycle helmet, softball/baseball helmet, or cycling helmet for protection. Just make sure you don’t lose precious time looking for one. Have your head gear ready when you need it!
Tornadoes can cause tremendous damage. To help ensure you’re protected, check out these additional tornado safety tips. Follow ApartmentSearch on Facebook and Twitter for even more apartment safety tips, just for renters!