Recently there has been a peculiar increase in the amount of severe weather, storms, and even natural disasters throughout the entire globe. For example, the freezing cold temperatures throughout the American Midwest which killed an upwards of 100,000 cattle and the sudden appearance of an island in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Pakistan are just a few of many random weather events that have been reported in the year of 2013. Places like Cairo, Egypt have even seen weather phenomena such as heavy snowfall which hasn’t occurred in over 100 years.
Due to the increase in worldwide severe weather, storms, and natural disasters it is important to not only be prepared with just supplies but with knowledge of the home too. Such as the safest structural points in houses during earthquakes, thunderstorms, tornadoes, tsunamis, and even volcanic eruptions.
During an earthquake loose and unstable construction is easily destroyed because of the intense and sudden movements coming from the earth below. With this in mind it is important to create a checklist of the strongest structural points within the home so that the family or individuals may be there in case of an earthquake. Locations such as a door frame or under a large table will prove useful against falling debris within the home. Depending on certain rooms standing in the very middle will help to avoid injury against windows that might break or objects that may fall off of the walls.
When a severe thunderstorm occurs it is important to avoid all rooms that have windows. Especially if a window or two is not cracked open in order to allow for the wind to flow through the home and avoid pressure. Also, due to lightning and electrical surges it is important to avoid rooms with the most electrical appliances or circuit breaker. In saying this, the safest rooms to be in during a severe thunderstorm is a closet, pantry, and even a windowless bathroom in the bathtub. Be sure to cover-up with heavy objects such as furniture and mattresses and to unplug all appliances prior to the thunderstorm.
Usually in most places where tornadoes occur, like ‘Tornado Valley’ for instance, preparations are already in place such as storm cellars and storm shelters. However, because weather phenomena are unpredictable it is excruciatingly important to be prepared for tornadoes in places where tornadoes do not usually occur. In the event that a tornado does occur in an unlikely place evacuations to a local concrete based building like an old church, community center, school, or high school stadium will be the first and most probable answer. If that does not occur than rooms such as basements and in the bathtub of a bathroom will prove to be the most structural sound rooms within a home during a tornado. Piling heavy objects such as furniture and mattresses will also prove useful.
Houses located near coastlines are always under the constant threat of a possible tsunami and it is in only these places that such events usually occur. However, an extreme tsunami may cause flooding for quite a few miles past the coastline especially if nearby rivers and streams increase in water level height. The first best piece of advice during a tsunami is to evacuate but if that is not possible than seeking high ground would be the second. If increasing water level height looks as if it may pass the roof height of a house than it is advisable to grab and hold onto objects that will float. This includes doors, light tables, and even inflatable beds.
Volcanoes have the ability of destroying towns and cities for several miles surrounding their immediate circumference. Especially when it comes to ash fall, acid rain, and lahars. Even if a home is not located in a danger zone of a volcanic eruption falling debris and heavy ash fall may still cause the home to become destroyed. In the event of a volcanic eruption it is always advisable to immediately evacuate. However, if located outside of a danger zone preparation such as gas masks and fresh water will be necessary. Windows and doors should be boarded and secured as to prevent ash from seeping inside the home. Also, rooms that consist of high traffic areas should be isolated in order to minimize the possibility of inhaling ash and other debris.
“100,000 Cattle Feared Dead After Early South Dakota Snowstorm.” By Manuel Bojorquez. CBS Evening News
“Did Pakistan Earthquake Create a New Island in the Arabian Sea?” By Nick Wiltgen. The Weather Channel
“Snow in Egypt For The First Time In 100 Years, Reports Say (Pictures).” By Jessica Elgot. The Huffington Post
“The Safest Place During an Earthquake: Expert Advice.” By Heather Timmons. The New York Times
“How to be Safe During a Major Thunderstorm.” By Andris Lee
“Safest Places to be During a Tornado.” EMSA Emergency Medical Services Authority
“Surviving a Tsunami – Lessons from Chile, Hawaii, and Japan.” Compiled by Brian F. Atwater, Marco Cisternas V., Joanne Bourgeois, Walter C. Dudley, James W. Hendley II, and Peter H. Stauffer. USGS U.S. Geological Survey
“How to Survive a Volcano Eruption.” By Cliff Montgomery