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As hurricane season takes full force, in the wake of the devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma, people are more concerned than ever about protecting themselves in the event of dangerous weather.
ABC News’ Weather Editor and Good Morning America weather anchor, Sam Champion shares his advice on how to stay safe and survive the most threatening of natural disasters.
“It is happening more and more frequently that you see the jaw-dropping,” Champion said.
Champion stresses preparedness in any situation by building a survival kit. Some of the items you should be sure to include in your kit are water, a blanket and flashlight and a first aid kit that includes back up medicine for any family member that has prescriptions. You should also have a safe meeting place, a place that all members of the family know to go to in the event of an emergency.
As for where the safe place itself should be, Champion sets up a few guidelines to help you select a location for your family. For tornadoes you should choose an interior room inside a building away from any windows, such as a bathroom, basement or a closet.
If you live in tornado-prone area, Champion recommends investing in a tornado shelter.
“It is one of the best investments you’ll ever have,” Champion reveals, “It will be good resale on your home.”
If you do not have a tornado shelter, Champion says that when using a basement as a shelter may not be study enough and recommends that homeowners re-enforce their sub-floor.
If you are in a building without a shelter or basement during a storm, Champion advises to get into a bathtub and place a mattress over yourself and hold on to it.
“Chances are it’s going to get torn out of your hands if the room is compromised,” Champions said, “But it gives you that padding for things that are flying around. The first thing that takes the wall out, or the wall falling, is what you have got to worry about most.”
In the case of a hurricane your family’s safe place should be an interior doorway, staying away from any and all windows. If you are located on the coast, you do not want to be on the ground floor in the case of a tidal surge.
But the most important thing to keep in mind if you are caught in a hurricane is to brace yourself. A hurricane is a longer-lasting storm than a tornado.
“In a hurricane you just hold on for the ten or twelve hours that you are going to be battered by those winds,” Champion said. “As long as you are above the storm surge, chances are you’ll walk out of that.”
If you have small children it can be potentially life-saving to have them wear helmets – just like they would when playing baseball or football or riding a bike – to protect them from dangerous flying debris.
Tornadoes and hurricanes can be sudden and life-threatening, but by preparing yourself and your family you increase your chances of surviving a potentially deadly storm.