Thoughts Regarding Tornado Shelters

You may have seen this "poster" in various places. While I am a big fan of manufactured tornado shelters for those that do not have basements, there's absolutely nothing wrong with the traditional advice of "go to the basement and get under sturdy furniture like a pool table." Equally good would be a closet in a basement. The poster may imply otherwise. 

In apartments, if you are on a lower floor, get into a bath or closet as close to the center of the building as possible. Put as many walls as possible between you and the tornado. Better still, if there is an underground facility nearby (complex's laundromat), dash over to it. 

As for businesses, because their spaces are often more complex than homes and there may be a liability issue if something goes wrong, it is probably worth it to pay an architect or engineer to provide management with advice regarding the best place for team members to shelter. 

Regardless of the type of shelter, please remember the follow:
  • Always wear shoes into the shelter. If the tornado hits, you will not want to be walking through the debris field with bare feet.
  • Put some water bottles into the shelter for thirst, cleaning wounds, etc. 
  • For businesses, add first aid kit. 
  • Take warning communication device (weather radio, app, etc.) into the shelter. 
  • For home or daycare use, make sure there are a few diapers available in the shelter. 
Now is the time to work out all of this. We appear to be getting into a pattern, not uncommon in spring, when tornadoes and severe thunderstorms may occur as low pressure systems move across the Lower 48 at about 4-5 day intervals. 


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