Thursday, November 10, 2011

NASHVILLE, Tenn.- This week, meteorologist Charlie Neese examined tornadoes in Middle Tennessee since 1830.
The National Weather Service has recorded 485 tornadoes in this area.
On Friday, Neese explored the best and worst places to go when a tornado warning is issued.
Thanks to NEXRAD radar used by the weather service and other technologies, most people have advanced warning that a tornado is on the way before it touches down. This gives people time to get in a place of safety before it's too late.
Many people have heard that a basement or storm cellar, underground, is the best place to be during a tornado. If there isn't a basement in the home, closets and bathrooms can serves as adequate protection.
People should avoid doors and windows because they can easily be blown out, showering anyone near with glass and debris.
If there isn't an underground shelter on the property, an above-ground tornado room can be a lifesaver. These rooms can be built when a home is under construction or retrofitted into existing homes. If built to correct specifications, they can provide excellent protection from the high winds of a tornado.
Crawl spaces, in general, are bad places in which to hide. Most foundations in Middle Tennessee are built of bricko blocks. These blocks are stacked on top of one another and held together by mortar. In many cases, the foundations will fail as the home shifts on top of them. The foundations can fail even if the home remains intact, crushing anyone who would seek shelter in the crawl space.
Going inside the home on the first floor is a much better alternative than in a crawl space...
Basements are good places, in general, during tornadoes but, if someone has a walk-out basement with garage doors, this can cause a problem. A structural study conducted in 1999 on homes damaged during an Oklahoma City tornado found that garage doors often fail in tornadoes.
This was also evident in 2006 in the Gallatin tornado. With this failure, extreme winds are allowed into the home, causing damage. If a basement has garage doors, go to the area most underground and get in a corner, under a workbench, inside a closet or bathroom. Get as far away from the doors as possible.
And most importantly, when any tornado warning is issued for in the area, it is important to heed it and to go to a designated safe place.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Building A Safe Room Saves Lives

Release Date: June 2, 2011
Release Number: 1979-025

» More Information on Tennessee Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line Winds, and Flooding

NASHVILLE, Tenn. --The tornadoes and high winds that have caused so many deaths this year make it all too obvious why a "safe room" is a good idea. Although a home may be built “to code,” that does not mean it can withstand the forces from extreme weather events. A safe room is a refuge that can save lives.

You can build a safe room in one of several places in your home:

  • Your basement.
  • Atop a concrete slab-on-grade foundation or garage floor.
  • An interior room on the first floor.

Safe rooms built below ground level offer the best protection, but a safe room built in a first-floor interior room can also provide the necessary safeguards. Below-ground safe rooms must be designed to avoid taking in water during the heavy rains or high water tables that often accompany windstorms.

Here are some considerations when building a safe room:

  • The safe room must be adequately anchored to resist overturning and uplift.
  • The walls, ceiling, and door of the shelter must withstand wind pressure and resist penetration by windborne objects and falling debris.
  • The connections between all parts of the safe room must be strong enough to resist the wind.
  • Sections of either interior or exterior residence walls that are used as walls of the safe room must be separated from the structure of the residence so that damage to the residence will not cause damage to the safe room.

For more information on building a safe room, visit the FEMA website at For FEMA P-320 book “Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business,” call 800-480-2520.

A safe room may be built into new housing or added inside or outside to existing structures. For more information on safe rooms, go to

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies Makes Sense.

Pets Instructional Video

Link to Instructional Video Menu Page
View the Pets Instructional Video
If you are like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household. The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire or flood, tornado or terrorist attack depends largely on emergency planning done today. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system, are the same for any emergency. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Keep in mind that what's best for you is typically what's best for your animals.
If you must evacuate, take your pets with you if possible. However, if you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets.
Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can't care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.