In Mississippi, severe weather can and will strike at anytime. The only way to be sure you and your family are prepared is to have a clear safety plan. At your home, this plan should be known by everyone. It’s a smart idea to practice this plan at least twice each year. Like a fire drill at school!
The first and most important part of making this plan is to know exactly where your home’s SAFE SPOT is located. A “safe spot” is you’re home’s “tornado shelter,” and its where everyone should immediately meet at the first sign of a tornado. Picking your safe spot depends on a few possibilities. The tips on this page will help you pick the perfect Safe Spot in your home. Once you’ve found it, be SURE to post your SAFE SPOT POSTER so everyone in your family can clearly know where it is. Don’t have a safe spot poster? Or do you have more than one safe spot in your home? CLICK HERE to download and print as many as you need!
The lower in your house the safer your safe spot. Underground is best, in fact! Like a basement or, obviously, a tornado shelter or storm cellar. But many homes in Mississippi do not have basements. And storm callers are equally as rare, so don’t worry if your home doesn’t have these. But that’s no problem. Just remember to find a spot in your house that meets these three Safe Spot rules:
Often times Bathrooms are a good shelter. Just be sure the don’t have windows (even small ones!) and, if possible, they aren’t near an “outside” wall. That is, a wall that separates you from the outside world.
If you have a closet that is NOT along an outside wall, then it could be an ideal safe spot! A small interior closet might be a shelter. It should be as far inside your home as possible. Be sure to close the door, and bring something to cover yourself for extra protection, like pillows or heavy blankets.
The space underneath a stairwell can make a great safe spot. Some homes make this space into a closet or storage area, complete with a door! But even if the space is open (no door) it is still a good place for a Safe Spot.
Sometimes the most “central” spot in your home is a hallway! And that’s just fine as a safe spot! Be sure to close all the doors along the hall, and bring coverages to protect you. The rule is to create as many barriers between you and the flying debris the tornado brings as possible! If your hallway has windows, keep as far away from them as possible.
The basic tornado safety guidelines are the same even in an apartment. Get to the lowest floor, with as many barriers between you and the outside as possible.
It’s smart to have a plan of where to go if you live on the upper floors or an apartment building. If your complex has a shelter, get there at the first hint of severe weather. If it doesn’t, see about making arrangements with neighbors on the lower floors.
And many apartments have stairs. If these are inside, they may have spaces under them for you and your family to take shelter.
Even weak tornado can do major damage to modular or mobile homes. Families that live in mobile home communities should take extra care to map out and know a plan for when tornados strike. Even a closet or hallway isn’t safe if the home can topple over or blow away around you.
If at all possible, you should never stay in a mobile when severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are present. Due to the usually short amount of time between a warning and the arrival of a tornado, families in mobile homes should consider executing their safety plans when a tornado watch is issued- Do not wait for the tornado warning!
Many mobile home communities have a community shelter near by. If there isn’t a safe place to go to, or you don’t have time to get there, leave your home and take cover as LOW TO THE GROUND as possible, preferably in a culvert, ditch, or under a sturdy structure.
Schools and Work Buildings
Your school and your parents’s office buildings should have severe weather plans, too! These buildings often have shelter areas. Just like in houses, the interior rooms and hallways are the safest. Avoid wide-open, long, and high roof areas like Gymnasiums and auditoriums.