Severe storms: finding your safe place - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Severe storms: finding your safe place

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Where would you go to take shelter during a tornado warning? Experts say it's important to plan ahead to take action when seconds count.

George and Angela Sims saw a killer tornado hit their Americus neighborhood in 2007.  Angela watched it out the front door.
Angela Sims said, "George grabbed me and he came to the door and he says ‘come back, that's a tornado.'"  George Sims recalled, "It was right in front of our house."

But George had been taught from an early age where to go.
"Go to the bathroom. Get a mattress," said Sims. "That's what my grandmother taught [me]. So that was our plan and what we did after I got her out of the door. I mean she was shell shocked.  Fascinated by how huge it was."
"I was just looking, like wow," said Angela Sims.

Emergency officials say George was exactly right. American Red Cross Flint River Chapter Emergency Services Program Manager Nigel Poole said "The safest place in your house is an interior room, with no windows.  That's probably the best.  Underneath a stairwell is good, if you have that.  You want to be on the first floor."

Executive Director Lara Gill of the Chapter said, "You don't want to think about it when the tornado is coming.  You want to know ahead of time where to go."

And having an emergency kit packed and ready can be vital after the storm. Experts ask that you prepare for three days. That means a gallon of water per person per day, food rations, blankets, flashlights, and emergency radios.

Safety officials advise people to put as many walls between you and the outside of a structure as possible, such as an interior hall, bathroom, or a closet without windows. Underground in a basement is good if possible.

Experts also note that if you're outside, take shelter in a ditch or a culvert away from trees; if you're in a car, try to drive away from the storm.

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