Is Your 'Safe Place' Really Safe?
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – NewsChannel 5 meteorologist Charlie Neese walked through a south Nashville home Tuesday to find the safest place during a storm.
Neese said you want to stay away from windows and large, open areas, but you also have to consider direction as well. Find south and southwest and stay away!
"Because that is the most likely area of the home that is going to be impacted first and by the strongest winds," Neese said.
Basements aren't common in Tennessee, but crawl spaces are. Tuesday's home has a walk-in, which may be someone's first choice trying to take cover.
However, Charlie said the mortar between cinder blocks in the foundation can make it the weakest option, causing the entire house to slide.
"When the pressure forces become great enough that becomes a weak spot and those rows of block will split," Neese explained.
Charlie found a coat closet near the center, but more northeastern side of the home that still puts as many walls between him and the outside.
"It has no windows and it's got a very, very short run of wall so this is going to be a place that could probably provide you shelter in most tornadoes in Middle Tennessee," he said.
Small bathrooms with pipes helping to stabilize its walls could be even better.
"You can get down in the bathtub. Lie down, cover your head and that can protect you from the flying debris. That's what kills or hurts most people," Neese went on to say.
There are also a few items you should have with you besides the obvious batteries, flash lights and bottled water:
- Shoes - Storm debris can liter what used to be your home or neighborhood. Most people don't wear shoes at home and that could lead to injuries later if you are barefoot.
- Whistle - There should be a whistle so rescuers can find you if you're trapped underneath rubble.
- ID – Your driver's license could be helpful if you evacuate and police shutdown your neighborhood. An ID proving you live somewhere could be the only way to reach your home immediately after a storm.
- Helmets – They may seem awkward, but bike or sport helmets can help protect children and adults from one of the biggest storm problems of all: head injuries from falling debris.
Charlie also said a lot comes down to personal responsibility and making sure you are getting weather alerts on your cell phone or weather radio.
All of this comes with a disclaimer, any tornado rated EF-4 or EF-5 will cause major devastation. When a storm gets that strong if you're not in an underground shelter, anyone can be vulnerable even in an obvious safe place, Neese said.