Neighbor and Fire Department Talk Tornado Safety

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

HARRISONBURG -- What if a tornado like the one in Oklahoma happened in the Valley? Would you know how to stay safe?

In Oklahoma not many people had basements.

Joseph Fortney lives in an apartment building in the Valley and he doesn't have a basement either.

"Being in the top floor of an apartment is kind of worrisome," said Fortney.

He said he hasn't thought of a safe place to go in case of a tornado or a hurricane.

"For those of us that are in apartments, we don't have basements. We probably have given it some thought, but in reality there is not many places we can go that that I know of," said Fortney.

Mike Brady is with the Harrisonburg Fire Department. He said the basement is the safest place, but for people who don't have one, there are a few steps to take to stay safe.

"We recommend if you live in an apartment building or a high rise to make it down to the lowest floor that you can. If you can't make it to the lowest floor, try to find the center of a room or a bathroom," said Brady.

He said you should have an emergency plan.

“The best way to make sure your plan works is to practice it and for everybody in the house to practice it. It's like doing your fire drill in the home. You want to do your tornado drill, hurricane drill wherever you are gonna go," said Brady.

He also recommends keeping a flashlight and battery operated radio and to have three days worth of food for everyone in the family.

“It can happen here, so don't take the watches and warnings lightly, take them seriously because they could affect you," said Brady.

Brady said the fire department is working to develop an emergency communications system.

For tips to stay safe in case of a tornado, go here: www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia

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