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Do you have ideas for how to make a house safe during a tornado or strong winds?

Discussion in 'Natural Disaster' started by littleoc, Feb 2, 2018.

  1. littleoc

    littleoc Well-Known Member Donated

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    Hello :)

    I live in a small house in a place that gets very many tornadoes. When I was younger, just after I was kidnapped for a year, a powerful storm came through and destroyed the city. It was one of the biggest experiences in my state, and we have a whole Wikipedia page about it. Which is sort of funny and not really at the same time.

    The house has a crawl space, but that's about it. There's two separated crawl spaces, one that's related to our used-to-be-garage (behind where the washer and dryer are), and one that is separated by a concrete wall from the once-garage, but is under the main house.

    I know scientifically that this area would not necessarily be safe in the event of an EF5 tornado. I've been in it and assessed it as logically as I could, and found that the concrete would be unlikely to stand high winds and that the 250-year-old oak right next to our house could probably only take one more storm... although it seems to be one lucky tree.

    As children my dad used to put us in the hallway, saying it was the most secure place in the house when the hallway door was closed. After assessing it, I have doubt. It seems to be wood-enforced, not steel, and the doors are hollow wood attached to a wooden (pine, probably, judging by the softness) door frame.

    Whenever I have been in tornado events, the areas I went to and survived in were bathrooms. Bathrooms can be a bit of a triggery place for me, but, oddly, I've survived in these places during multiple tornadoes. Our house has a bathtub, which would offer some protection from flying debris, but it's in the main house above the crawl space. I'm sure that in THIS house, an EF5 could take the tub out of the ground.

    If I had to run there last minute, maybe it would work?

    If I could make it to the crawl space in time, I'd rely on the pipes going into the ground, under the tub for example. But I'm no match for strong winds. I know I can't hold on that tight for more than a few seconds.

    Does anyone who knows more about this know what I could do to have a safer area?

    Thanks :)
     
    hodge and EveHarrington like this.
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  3. brokenEMT

    brokenEMT Well-Known Member

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    very generally, you'd want any room/space that has all of it's walls not touching the outside of the house, the most interior area, even if it's a closet. Preferably you'd want the ceiling of the room/space to also not be part of the roof (so, not the top floor of a multistory building). One of the preferred spaces is in the basement under the stairs. Some people are also having safe rooms built into their homes, or under their garages.

    If you're talking F5, or even F4, there's nothing really above ground left standing. Do you have the option of building an underground shelter near the house? That's we had at our farm house, just off our kitchen door so it was easy to get to.
     
    hodge and littleoc like this.
  4. littleoc

    littleoc Well-Known Member Donated

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    I'm not sure if we have that option, but I'll look into it. It's odd that this house doesn't have something like that, but I suppose the builders thought being in a hilly area was enough protection.
     
  5. brokenEMT

    brokenEMT Well-Known Member

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    yeah, if it's a strong tornado there really aren't any right answers, except don't be outside. Get as low as you can, have as many solid walls between you and the outside as possible.

    I think now, instead of just doing a dirt cellar as a shelter (what we had), there are now metal modules that you can bury. Same basic idea, but you dig the hole, drop it in, and bury it. Voila! instant tornado shelter, and way cleaner and less creepy than the dirt cellar. Hopefully an underground shelter is an option for you, especially since you're in an area that gets strong tornados.
     
    hodge and littleoc like this.
  6. littleoc

    littleoc Well-Known Member Donated

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    Typing "metal modular tornado shelter" into Google got me lots of results. Thank you :)
     
    hodge likes this.
  7. Friday

    Friday Raise Hell Moderator

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    hodge and littleoc like this.
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