Local News

Think Fast to Minimize Tornado Risks

Posted April 8, 1998

— More than 20 deaths from a tornado is almost unheard of these days, but that's the most recent count after funnel clouds struck in Alabama and Georgia. It definitely raises concern about what people can do to save their lives and protect loved ones if caught in the path of a storm.

Being in the wrong place at the wrong time when a tornado hits, can be deadly. In many cases, victims have mere seconds to react. But, there are some things that could minimize chances of being caught in a killer wind.

The tornado that hit Zebulon two years ago convinced eyewitnesses that twisters have deadly force. Marvin Durham witnessed that storm. He says it was a memorable and frightening experience.

State safety experts say that's why everyone needs a plan to lower risk of injury. A basement is an ideal place to hide, but most residents in this area are lucky to have a crawlspace, which might not be accessible in the seconds between a warning sign and a tornado strike.

Tornado expert Tom Hegele says precious time could be wasted trying to access a crawlspace.

Experts say it's always a good idea to go to the lowest floor in a home, preferably somewhere with no windows.

Hegele says the only time peopleshouldget out of the house is if the house is a mobile home. In that case, they say, get out and look for a ditch or some other low-lying area to take shelter in.

There are some other things to keep in mind after a tornado passes through.

  • Watch out for fallen power lines.
  • Stay out of damaged areas.
  • Use a flashlight to inspect for damage.
  • Don't use candles because there could be a broken gas line.

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