Tornadoes can be disastrous, and the sad part is that they are far too common in the US. In fact, the United States is the country with the most number of tornado occurrences each year.
But what makes these events of natural disasters even more unpredictable is that they don’t always come with a warning.
Tornadoes can turn extremely dangerous as the wind speed can go as high as 300 miles per hour. They can tear away a house from its foundation. If you live in an apartment building, then you’re at an even higher risk.
It is usually advised to move the basement of your house during a tornado occurrence. But what about people who live in upstairs apartments?
In this article, we are going to offer tornado safety tips and guidelines for people who live in apartments.
How to Stay Safe During a Tornado in an Apartment
Keep reading to learn how to keep yourself and your family safe during a tornado!
Make sure to follow the tips mentioned below to ensure the safety of you and your family
Find the Lowest Ground
When you’re in your apartment during a tornado, your first course of action should be to head towards the lowest ground available.
If you have don’t have access to a basement, then go to the ground floor, first floor, or towards a covered parking lot.
The key is to head immediately towards the lowest level accessible to you. If you don’t have any options, then ask your neighbor on the lower or ground floor to give you shelter.
If that doesn’t work either, then find the interior stairwells of the lowest floor of your building and take shelter under the stairs.
Look for the Next Safest Option
If it’s already too late or dangerous to head down or leave your apartment, then you need to focus on finding the next best/safe option.
The first rule of staying safe is to stay as far away from the windows as possible. Find an interior room or a hallway with no windows and take shelter there.
Another option is to leave your apartment and stay in the hallway in the center of the building of your floor if you can’t go down.
If you don’t have access to the hallway or an interior room, then take shelter in your bathroom.
Although bathrooms usually have exterior walls and windows, they are still safe due to the thick, insulating pipes inside the walls.
You can also use a closet in an interior room to ride out the tornado. Empty the closet and use bedding, blankets, mattress, etc., to insulate the space.
Make sure you close the closet door for maximum insulation and protection.
Cover and Protect Your Body
Whether you find shelter in the hallway, basement, or closet, it’s important to protect your body by covering your head, neck, chest, and arms.
Covering yourself with as many layers as possible is important to protect your body from the damage that may be caused by the debris.
If you’re taking shelter in a bathroom tub or a closet, take thick blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, etc., to cover your body. The layers will keep you safe in case there’s any debris falling.
If you have a bike helmet or any other head protective gear at home, make sure you wear it for protection from a head injury.
Use a face mask to cover your nose and mouth from breathing in the debris, which can end up causing damage to your lungs. If you live in an area known for tornadoes, it’s best if you invest in protective gear.
Prepare for a Tornado
If you live in an area where tornadoes are common, you should be prepared to deal with them beforehand. You should always have a safety plan for these situations.
Create and practice tornado safety drills with your family, roommates, and neighbors. Make sure everyone knows what to do in any possible situation.
Arrange an emergency kit that is easy to carry with you to your designated shelter. Make sure you have a first aid kit, your prescription medicine, flashlights, and extra batteries in your emergency kit.
When there is a tornado warning, and a tornado shelter is open to the public, make sure you know its location and get there ahead of time.
Take your emergency food, water, food, and any other essentials for at least three days worth of quantity.
If you have an infant child or a pet, make sure you bring their food and other essential items as well. Always keep your pet on a leash, so you don’t lose them in times of emergency.
How to Stay Safe After the Tornado?
Once the storm has passed, you need to keep your family together and call emergency services. Make sure you carefully tend to anyone who may have been affected.
Try not to move too much until emergency services have arrived. There could be broken glass and other sharp debris that could cause injuries.
Moreover, the electrical wires might also have tripped, so stay away from any metal or chords.
Don’t try to light matches or lighter in case it’s dark because the gas lines might have leaked during the tornado. Use flashlights or your phone’s torch instead. Try to keep everyone calm until emergency help arrives.
What are the Signs of a Tornado?
Tornadoes aren’t always predictable, and so there may not always be an official warning before one. Here are a few ways you can identify the signs of a tornado:
- Whirling debris or dust under a cloud
- Continuous rotation in the cloud base
- Heavy rain with intense wind shifts
- A persistent and loud roar unlike thunder, which ends in a few seconds
Tornadoes can be extremely disastrous, and they pose an even greater threat to people living in high-rise apartment buildings.
By following the safety tips and guidelines that we explained above, you can keep yourself and your family safe during and after a tornado.
Make sure you get to the lowest elevation or ground to stay safe. If you can’t get out of the apartment, then find shelter in an interior room away from all the windows. Call emergency services as soon as you can.
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