FORT WAYNE, Ind. (FOX 55) - You get an alert on your phone, severe weather is on the way, but you don't know if your apartment or mobile home is safe. So what do you do now? According to John Caywood, the Allen County Building Commissioner, the state building codes minimum requirements don't require residents to have designated safe spots.
He said "there are already laws in place and codes in place to determine how strong, what requirements there are for the structure. So, one example would be the requirement for hurricane ties on all the roof structures, which adds to the maximum volume (of the space) for the velocity of wind to protect. But, beyond that, I feel like it's the individuals responsibility if they're going to live there to decide what there game plan is."
That game plan is different depending on if you live in an apartment or a mobile home.
If you live in an apartment building, your safest place is either inside an interior room, on the lowest floor, or underneath a stairwell inside away from any windows.
But, William Thomas, who lives in a mobile home, has an entirely different plan
"I do have the alert system inside, plus we have a shelter over at the main lobby. A garage that we can use as a shelter. It's a brick and cage garage with one door that opens. So, that's where we go for a tornado drill or severe weather. If I know it's going to be tremendously bad weather, I have a friend that lives a couple miles away that I go to her basement," said Thomas when asked what his severe weather plan is.
Plain and simple, mobile homes aren't safe to be in during severe weather, something Thomas knows well
When asked why he decided to leave his mobile home when severe storms are on the way, he said
"Just in case because the mobile home that was here prior to me was destroyed by a tornado. So, I guess it lifted it right off the foundation and every thing and it flew over here to the side."
During events with very strong winds, mobile homes will fold, crumple, and fall off their foundation, leaving you at risk for injury or death. So, if you have time, you need to seek sturdy shelter. You're even safer lying flat in a ditch than you are in one of those.
Lying head covered in a ditch during a tornado may seem counterintuitive, but the thought is being lower to the ground, you'll be less likely to be hit with debris.
So, you need to prepare yourself for severe weather because unless changed by state legislators, laws to keep you safe during severe weather probably won't be included in the minimum building codes.
"Sometimes we get too much red tape that way, but I think in the private sector, it would be great for people to step up, business owners to protect their clients, their residents that way," said Caywood
Other tips to keep yourself safe in a number of different situations can be found here
- Severe weather safety info if you live in an apartment or mobile home
- Fire destroys mobile home
- Three Rivers Festival keeps safety as priority during severe weather
- Astoria Apartments issued "health and safety" citations
- Fire destroys mobile home in Angola
- Electrical fire destroys Angola mobile home
- 2018 Severe Weather Preparedness Week
- Schools preparing for severe weather
- Stubborn fire damages several apartments at Canterbury Green
- Butler Police offer reward for arson info