Wednesday, April 5th is Safe Place Selfie Day. It's your annual reminder to find your safe place and help spread the word about severe weather preparedness by posting your selfie on April 5th!
This campaign, created by the National Weather Service, is intended to encourage you to take time now to find your safe place so, in the event of severe weather, you're better prepared. There have already been several impactful severe weather events this season where residents had to take shelter in their safe place. This man survived the EF-4 Rolling Fork tornado by sheltering in his bathtub.
There are a few simple steps you can follow to be better prepared and help spread the word:
1) Think about the weather hazards your area faces and where you spend your time. This includes hazards that happen often or annually like like lightning, flooding, or extreme heat, in addition to hazards that occur less frequently, such as a tsunami.
2) Know your safe place from each of the hazards you face in the places you frequent. A basement is a great place to take shelter from a tornado but would not be safe in the event of flash flooding. Think about where you would go during each of the hazards that could threaten your area in each location. Also think about what you would do during combinations of severe events - sometimes we have flash flood warnings at the same time of tornado warnings - where would you go in your home to avoid both dangers?
3) Take a selfie in one or more of these locations and post it to social media on April 5th. Include the hashtag #safeplaceselfie. Challenge others in your post to take their own safe place selfie by tagging them in your post, or in the post's thread.
When most people think about their "safe place" it's likely they think about where to go in case a tornado warning is issued for their area. In the event of a tornado, a storm shelter or basement of a well built structure is typically the safest location from flying debris.
If your home does not have a storm shelter or basement, an interior room on the lowest level of your building works best. Try to find a location without windows, such as an interior closet or bathroom. A helmet, pillow, or mattress is a great second layer of protection to shield you and your family. If you're in the bathroom, get in the tub. Bring your phone with you, in addition to a whistle. If you get trapped under the building you're sheltering in, the whistle could help search and rescue locate you.
Mobile homes and vehicles are not safe in the event of a tornado, but a vehicle can serve as a good safe place when lightning is the primary hazard. Staying up to date on the forecast and current conditions is the most important aspect of having your safety plan in place, in addition to being prepared. Make sure you have multiple ways to get severe weather warnings. These can include:
1) NOAA Weather Radio
2) News or Television
3) Mobile Alerts (Go to your notification settings to make sure Emergency Alerts and Public Safety Alerts are turned on)
4) Getting push notifications from your local National Weather Service Office
5) Having a friend or family member call you when a warning is issued
We look forward to see your #safeplaceselfie on April 5th!