Weather related damage is a common concern for both residential and commercial property owners in Southwest Ohio. Heavy winds and damaging tornadoes are a reality in this area of the United States. Due to the volatile and unexpecting nature of weather related incidents, it can catch the property owners off guard. Be prepared, have the facts, and have a plan.
The greatest incidence of tornadoes is in North America, and especially just west of the Mississippi Valley in an area labeled “Tornado Alley.” In actual numbers observed, Australia ranks second to the United States. The United States is notable for the incidence of severe
tornadoes of scale F4 or F5. Within the United States, Texas records the
greatest number, usually 15 to 20 percent of the nation’s annual total
of about 1,000. On an areal basis, however, Texas ranks ninth, far
behind Oklahoma. A rather steady increase in the annual total has been
observed, probably as a result of the improving reporting system.
Tornadoes are classified on the Fujita scale,
which determines the probable maximum wind speed by the damage
associated with a tornado. In the event of most
there is no time
to delay in calling for professional help after one hits.
BE READY: TORNADOES
Conduct tornado drills each tornado season.
Designate an area in the home as a shelter, and practice having everyone
in the family go there in response to a tornado threat. Discuss
with family members the difference between a “tornado watch”
and a “tornado warning.”
Have disaster supplies on hand:
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Portable, battery-operated radio
and extra batteries
- First aid kit and manual
- Emergency food and water
- Non-electric can opener
- Essential medicines
- Cash and credit cards
- Sturdy shoes
YOUR SAFETY LOCATIONS
Homes with basements
Seek refuge near the basement wall in the most sheltered and deepest
below-ground part of the basement. Beneath basement stairs, or under
heavy furniture or a workbench is a good refuge.
Homes without basements
Take cover in the smallest room with stout walls. An interior closet or
a bathroom without windows provides good cover (plumbing within the
walls provides good support). Under heavy furniture, or a tipped-over,
sturdy upholstered couch or chair near the center of the house is a good
option. The first floor is safer than the second or third. Don’t take
time to open or close windows; get away from them and go to a safe area
immediately. Construction of a storm cellar is particularly advisable
for homes without basements.
Mobile homes and modular buildings
Abandon mobile homes. Arrange for the use of a convenient safe area in
advance, should violent weather occur. Consider basements, a storm
cellar, the ground floor of a sturdy structure or a nearby culvert or
Factories, auditoriums and other large buildings
with wide, free-span roofs
These buildings are particularly vulnerable to tornadic wind damage due
to the large roof expanse upon which wind forces act and the distance
between roof-supporting walls. Basements of these buildings offer
reasonably good protection. Smaller interior rooms at ground level or
nearby sturdy buildings are options, depending on their construction and
the urgency for shelter.
Pre-select and mark designated safe areas. Hold
tornado safety drills. Train building employees to direct occupants to
designated safe areas. Trained spotters should assume their posts when
conditions become threatening.
The basement or an interior hallway on a lower floor of an office
building is safest. Upper stories are unsafe. If there is not time to
reach one of the lower floors, a small room with stout walls (closet or
bathroom) or an inside hallway provides some protection against flying
debris. Otherwise, getting under heavy furniture must do.
Select and mark designated safe areas in office
buildings. Train building employees to direct the occupants to
designated safe areas.
AFTER HEAVY WINDS OR TORNADO DAMAGE
INSPECTING UTILITIES IN THE
Look for electrical system damage–If you see sparks
or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the
electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step
in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician
first for advice.
Check for sewage and water lines damage–If you
suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using toilets and call a
plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid
using water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice
Do not wait to call for professional