Another weekend. Another series of severe storms that come barrel ling through the St. Louis area.
We've been lucky. No serious injuries reported last weekend or this weekend. We were talking with Susan Green with Jefferson County Emergency Management. She said that she believes part of the reason why is because people are taking the appropriate actions and following directions.
Here's an example of someone doing the right thing. We talked with Alan Ricotta today. He lives in the Lake Tishomingo community in central Jefferson County. He rode out the storm with his wife and five kids in the basement. He said that they had a mattress to put over them if need be.
I copied the following off an Internet site dedicated to tornado safety. Notice what it says about a mattress and couch cushions.
IN HOMES OR OTHER SMALL BUILDINGS:
The best places are:
* In a storm shelter specifically designed for that use--within the basement or outside the home entirely. Some companies manufacture pre-fab shelters that you drop into a hole in the ground, and that blends in with home landscaping(some more, some less).
*In a basement, away from the west and south walls. Hiding under a heavy work-table or under the stairs will protect the family from crumbling walls, chimneys, and large airborne debris falling into the cellar. A family in the April 8th, 1998 tornado in Birmingham, Alabama area survived because a hutch toppled and was held up by the dining room table they were under. That hutch helped deflect the debris that would have struck them. Old blankets, quilts and an unused mattress will protect against flying debris, but they should be stored in the shelter area. Precious time can be lost by trying to find these items at the last minute.
*In a small, windowless, first floor, interior room like a closet or bathroom. The bathtub and commode are anchored directly into the ground, and sometimes are the only thing left in place after the tornado. Getting into the bathtub with a couch cushion over you gives you protection on all sides, as well as an extra anchor to the foundation. Plumbing pipes may or may not help hold the walls together, but all the extra framing that it takes to put a bathroom together may make a big difference. If there is no downstairs bathroom and the closets are all packed with "stuff," a hall may be the best shelter. Put as many walls as you can between yourself and the tornado. In a pinch, put a metal trash over as much of you as you can. It will keep some flying debris from injuring you. Even that may make the difference between life and death.