Select Your Safe Space
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20 Days to Ready: Select Your Safe Space (Day 15)

20 Days to Ready is a series of simple, daily tasks to help you better prepare for emergencies and protect your family when disaster strikes. Follow along, day by day, and you’ll be more ready (for just about anything) in a few short weeks.

ASSIGNMENT: Designate a Room to Use as a Storm Shelter

Contrary to what some kids may think, the safest place during a storm isn’t under the covers.

The National Weather Service (NWS) says the best place to take shelter from a tornado is completely underground — or as low as possible. So, use these tips from the NWS to identify the room that should become the go-to storm and tornado shelter in your home.

If you live in a house with a basement…

A basement is a good shelter in most cases, the NWS says. Be sure to pick a spot that isn’t situated under any heavy objects on the floor above. You may want to advise family members to get under a stairwell or a piece of sturdy furniture for additional protection. If the basement isn’t totally underground, find a spot that is away from outside doors or windows. If your home has a storm cellar, you should use it, the NWS says.

If your home doesn’t have a basement…

Even without a safe, underground space, you still have some options. Look for a small room in your home that is close to the ground, far inside the building, and away from doors, windows and outside walls, the NWS says. Some options may include:

  • Bathrooms
  • Closets
  • Hallways
  • Spaces beneath stairwells

In each case, the NWS says you should make sure the room you choose is not along an outside wall and doesn’t have windows or doors to the outdoors. And, if you are on the first floor of a two-story home, make sure you are not underneath any heavy furniture on the floor above.

Other considerations…

A specially built, reinforced tornado shelter in your home can be a good option, the NWS says. (Click here for information on building one, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency). If you’re an apartment dweller, and live on a higher floor, check with your property manager to see if there’s a reinforced shelter on the property. And if you live in a mobile home, find another designated safe spot. The NWS says there is no place in a mobile home that will keep you safe from a tornado.

No matter your situation, planning ahead and knowing where to go in case of a tornado can help you keep your family safe.

Click here to follow along with more “20 Days to Ready” emergency preparedness tasks.

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