Mobile Homes And Tornadoes | What To Do In An Emergency
Mobile homes have long been superstitiously and falsely viewed and termed “tornado magnets.” Of course, it’s not possible that mobile homes and tornadoes are actually attracted to each other. However, the thought has stuck around as one “reason” why people don’t trust mobile homes’ safety. The only correlation between the two is the unfortunate coincidence that mobile homes are popular in tornado-prone areas.
But since that’s the situation we find ourselves in, it’s important that every mobile home owner is aware of the precautions and safety tips. Especially if you live in a high-risk zone.
Tornadoes are a terrifying natural phenomenon that we don’t have a lot of answers for. All of us have seen the devastation they leave behind in their wake. News images of open fields strewn with the debris and ruins of mobile home parks aren’t new to anyone.
In terms of your actual home, there isn’t much you can do to tornado-proof it. Mobile homes are more susceptible to tornadoes than stick-built homes for a variety of reasons:
- They are made of much lighter materials that can be picked up and ripped apart much easier than a stick-built home.
- Mobile homes are usually long and rectangular in shape – this shape is very susceptible to being pulled or damaged by tornadoes.
- They usually aren’t attached permanently to a foundation.
Although it might seem bleak up to this point, there are a few things you can do to prepare for a tornado if you live in a mobile home:
- Before you move into a home or move your already-owned mobile home to a new area look at the likelihood of a tornado in this area. Areas are “zoned” according to their risk. Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, and Kansas are the highest at-risk states.
- Make the home as “permanent” as possible. Although it won’t help much with bigger tornadoes it might save your home in case of smaller ones or tornadoes passing close by. Construct a permanent foundation under your mobile home and attach the home to it. You can also semi-permanently attach your home to the ground with an anchoring system.
- Build a storm bunker under the home. Although this won’t save your home, it gives you easy access to safety. Most parks won’t allow it so it’s only really an option if the home is on private land. You can buy these structures and don’t necessarily have to construct them from scratch.
- Come up with an escape plan. Find out if the park or community center has a tornado shelter. Alternatively, try and find a friend with a permanent home nearby and enlist them to open their doors to you in case of a tornado. Figure out your route and how long it takes you to get there so that you are prepared when the time comes.
- Stay informed. Purchase an NOAA weather radio that will broadcast emergency extreme weather warnings. Also, sign up for local extreme weather apps or SMS groups.
What to do during a tornado
As you should have been able to deduce from the previous section, the best thing to do as a mobile home owner during a tornado is to get out of the house. Experts even suggest that, in cases where you are too late to evacuate the danger zone, you are better off ditching your home and finding a low lying area or ditch to hide in. Some even suggest that hiding in your car is a safer option.
In any home, under the staircase, in a basement, or in a hallway are the safest spots to hide. Stay away from windows and doors. If you are outside, stay as far away as possible from anything that can be picked up and thrown around such as cars, trees, electricity poles, and other moveable objects.
If you catch the news in time, head to the local shelter or to a friend or neighbor’s stick-built home or tornado basement. It’s not recommended that you jump in your car at the first sign of danger though, it all depends on the direction of the tornado and how early you were warned. You could be caught right in its path. So, plan your route carefully.
Mobile homes and tornadoes don’t mix
Even though they may not have a magnetic attraction, mobile homes and tornadoes definitely don’t do well in the same space. If a tornado is headed your way, don’t put your safety or your family’s at risk. Just like hurricanes, tornadoes are a force to be reckoned with.