How To Stay Safe At Apartments During Storms

Thursday, March 26th 2009, 5:06 pm
By: News On 6

By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Many Tulsa apartment complexes don't offer safety plans for severe weather.

Those who live in an apartment are expected to protect themselves.

"I guess I never really thought about it, and that could just be a false sense of security," apartment renter Pam Bekka said. "But I just have never thought about it before."

When the sirens sound, most people head to safety. Many apartments in Tulsa don't offer a storm shelter or basement.

"In Oklahoma we have one of the highest probabilities of being in severe weather event or a tornado of any place in the world," News On 6 chief meteorologist Travis Meyer said.

There is no state law or ordinance requiring apartments to have a severe weather safety plan. It's up to residents to have one in place.

When you hear of a possibility of severe weather and tornadoes near your apartment, move to shelter immediately. If you live on an upper floor, get to the lowest level of the building possible immediately. Lie down on the floor and cover yourself up for protection from falling objects and debris.

"The higher you go, the more dangerous it becomes because of the dynamics of a tornado or very strong wind event," Meyer said. "So you want to make sure you become good friends with your neighbor down below."

If you live in a high-rise apartment, sometimes there isn't time to get to a lower level. Pick a place in the hallway in the center of your building. A closet, bathroom or interior hall without windows is the safest spot in your apartment during a tornado.

Bekka hasn't had to take cover before, but she knows what to do when severe weather strikes, regardless of whether her complex helps her out.

"The building is old," she said. "It's brick, it's solid and I would feel safe in the bathroom."