A tornado can happen anywhere and at any time. Before going on vacation it is important to be prepared by being aware of safety procedures in case of an emergency. Tornado safety procedures in a hotel will be different from tornado safety procedures in your own home. Being aware of this before traveling could save your life.
Watches Vs. Warnings
The safety precautions needed will depend on whether there is a tornado watch or a tornado warning. Tornado watches mean that there are weather conditions that may result in a tornado. There is no need to seek immediate shelter if there is a watch. Instead, listen closely to a weather radio station so you may be aware of any changes in conditions. Pay attention to drastic weather changes, such as a darker sky. A tornado warning means a tornado has been spotted in your area. You should immediately seek shelter and take precautions until conditions change.
Where to Go
Knowing the safest location to seek shelter in a hotel could save your life in the event of a tornado. You should get to the lowest floor possible. According to the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office, a basement is the safest place to go. If the hotel does not have a basement, then a closet or bathroom is the next safest choice According to Pinellas County (Florida) Emergency Management, “short and stout” walls can protect you more than an open area, which is why a bathroom or closet is a safe location to be.
Where Not To Go
A hotel may suggest you take shelter in a hallway, but according to the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office, this is not a safe place to be because “hallways can become wind tunnels and send debris flying down the corridor.” You should also not be on any upper stories because of possible collapses due to the tornado. The worst place for you to go during a tornado is outside or in a car. Wherever you go, you should stay away from windows.
It is important to have a weather radio with you in the event of a tornado, or at least a radio of some kind. You should also have flashlights, pillows and blankets on hand in case of a tornado.
Once in a shelter location you should get underneath some sort of furniture, like a table. If possible, cover yourself with heavy blankets and pillows.