Survival Tips: Staying Safe in Severe Storms

By: Melanie Niemann Email
By: Melanie Niemann Email

April 28, 2011

Severe storms slammed Central Virginia on Tuesday and Wednesday night, putting many areas under Tornado Watches and Warnings. With the potential for dangerous weather in the air, members of the Charlottesville Fire Department say it is important to know how to stay safe.

"Particularly this time of the year because there is the potential to have a storm that is very destructive," explained Charlottesville Fire Chief Britt Grimm, who suggests storm-conscious home owners purchase a weather radio.

The CFD urges people to listen to warnings. In the event of a severe storm, officials say should head to the lowest level of your home. The safest part of your house will have the strongest walls around you, such as a basement. Grimm also recommends using a mattress or pillows to block flying debris.

If you do not have a basement, take shelter in an interior room, such as a closet or bathroom, and shut the door. Grimm says it is important to avoid windows.

"You have to assume that glass is going to break," he said.

The common myth of opening doors and windows to elevate pressure in the home is not true. Another false myth is to head to one specific corner of the home.

"Don't specifically head to the southwest corner," said Grimm. "You're looking for the strongest, safest and most solid place in the structure."

Ultimately, the best way to stay prepared is to have a plan in place before the storm hits.

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