PROJECT TORNADO: Safe places when you don’t have a basement

PROJECT TORNADO: Storms that Shape Us
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 6:04 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – When severe storms hit and we tell you to seek shelter in your safe space, you typically think of the basement in your home.

But what if you live somewhere without a basement, like a mobile home or an apartment complex. Then where do you go?

If you live in a mobile home community, you’ll want to go to your parks storm shelter for safety.

“In the state of Minnesota, there is a statute that requires mobile home parks to provide shelters,” Olmsted County Emergency Management Director Captain Jon Jacobson said. “That went into effect back in 1987. Licensing that happened for mobile home parks after 1988, they are required to provide a storm shelter. And that has to be construction per code.”

designated storm shelter in a mobile home community
designated storm shelter in a mobile home community(KTTC)

Now, lets say you and your family live in an apartment complex. There are a few different things you can do depending on how your building is designed.

If you have an underground parking garage, this will be the safest place for you and your family to go during severe weather.

Now say your apartment building doesn’t have an underground garage space and you live on the ground level. Head into the most interior part of your apartment, which is usually a closet or bathroom. This would be your designated safe space.

Lastly, if you live on the second floor or above, move to the lowest level of your building and stay in the hallway.

“Just like you were a kid in school, you go to the hallway and you hunker down,” Jacobson said. “Get down on your knees, put your head between your knees and cover up your head.”

Another option, one that is more common in the southern United States, is to install a tornado shelter.

“So here in the Midwest, we’re pretty fortunate we have basements to go to that are below ground,” Zach Sharpe with Storm Shelter of Iowa said. “However, there’s still walk-out basement or homes that don’t have basements for cost saving measures and this measure provides that safety for people to have at least a little bit more comfort when severe storms roll through and they need to seek shelter.

“We really don’t have a full interior room, everything has windows in it and so having a very young family, we just wanted to be as cautious as possible,” storm shelter buyer Nolan Craighton said.

This option has been tested to withstand just about anything.

“They are FEMA rated. And to take it one step further, we dropped a Ford commercial van on top of it and it didn’t even scratch it, dent it, nothing,” Sharpe said. “It looked just like it did when it came out of the facility.

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