Tornado safety during a pandemic

NOW: Tornado safety during a pandemic


COVID-19 has given us many new “normals” in 2020. One you maybe haven’t thought about is tornado safety during a pandemic.

During a tornado warning, it is time to seek shelter. Do you know how to find your safe spot? If you live in a house, your shelter plan will remain unchanged. Go to an interior room with no windows on the lowest floor of your house. A closet, bathroom, or basement are good options for many.

If you live in an apartment or mobile home, your plan will likely need to change during the pandemic. Staying in a mobile home is never a safe option. They aren’t structurally strong enough to withstand tornadoes. Normally (with no pandemic) you can shelter at a nearby building, like a business, or the home of a friend or family member.

Social distancing will likely impact your normal shelter plan. Do you shelter nearby at someone’s house? If your friends and family are elderly, or have pre-existing medical conditions (making them more susceptible to the virus), they might not want you to shelter with them. If you shelter at a nearby business, make sure you know if they are open and if they have updated hours due to the pandemic.

All of this being said, if you do not have an updated plan and there is a tornado warning, go ahead and seek shelter, even if you cannot social distance properly. The combination of finding shelter and maintaining social distancing is something you can plan for in advance.

For apartments, go to the lowest floor. You can shelter in an interior hallway or staircase. You can also shelter under a stairwell on the bottom floor, even if it is outdoors. If you normally would go inside a neighbor’s apartment on the bottom floor, you might rethink that plan due to social distancing.

Even though this stairwell is partially outdoors, this is a safe place to go if you live at an apartment complex.

One final preparation you can make in the pandemic is to update your emergency kit. In addition to other supplies, include a cloth mask in the kit for every member of your family.

Preparation is key so you are always ready when severe weather strikes.

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