TN--This month we showed you that Tennessee is one of the most vulnerable states
for tornadoes in the nation. During severe weather our policy here at fox 17 is
to go on air until the threat is over. But if a tornado actually struck your
house, could your family survive? We chose three families to let the experts
find out that answer.
day before the newlywed Threet family’s wedding, March 2nd, was the worst tornado outbreak of the
season in Tennessee! "The hail was everywhere; it dented a few of our cars, the
preacher’s car we all ran over there to my grandmas," said Brittany
couple dodged the twisters that day, but the fear remains. "I've never had a
panic attack but I think it's something like that. I start shaking and I feel
really sick and get really scared," said Threet.
Threet family has a safety plan in place.
They have FOX 17 on TV and go straight to the back of their closet. The
TV’s sound is loud enough so they can hear where the storms are located. At
first glance, a builder from Castle Homes says this is a safe room! "What do you
see first off, looking at this? Well, first off it's a good space because it's
an interior room in the house; you've got three solid walls and only one
opening," said Michael McDonald. But, a
closer look reveals a potentially deadly flaw, an attic access hatch. Roofs are
usually the first thing to go when a tornado strikes, meaning this room would be
we found a safer spot, underneath the family's home. "Well the crawl space is
going to be structurally the soundest with the concrete block walls, it's going
to prevent projectiles coming through better than the vinyl siding," said
McDonald. The Threet family will now need more time to get to their new safe
place ahead of a tornado.
meet the McCaw family from East Nashville. Family members had a close call with
a tornado. "I was just about to get on Briley Parkway, going to work and I saw a
funnel cloud off to my left and I'm just like freaking out, I said oh my gosh
that's headed right toward the house," said Kevin McCaw.
his wife and two kids were in a closet beneath these steps, down in the
basement. "If I had to pick a spot in the house, this is a pretty good one,
you’re below ground, you've got good concrete block, you've got concrete above
you," said Brett Wright of Castle Homes.
we did find room for improvement. For a few bucks at a hardware store this
closet door could be secured with a latch from the inside.Also the family has no
way to receive storm warnings, and no
TV, radio or internet in the safe room to let them know when the threat is over.
Finally, the family fell for an old myth. They open windows and the garage door
trying to equalize the pressure. That's the worst thing you can do! The garage
door is often the first line of defense of strong winds, with that open, roofs
will ripped off much easier!
meet John Owen of Mount Juliet! A few years ago a tornado went right by his
kid's school. "I remember the panic trying to get to the school to get to my
kids when the power lines were across the road and trees are down," said
Owen.Since then he built this vault of a storm shelter on the side of his
garage, surrounded by concrete this cozy room needs little improvement. “With
all of the concrete and everything that's there probably the only thing that you
could really see is if you wanted to go to maybe a thicker gauge steel door or
maybe some additional locking mechanisms to hold the door closed," said Wright.
Owen family has all the basics covered, an iPhone app that lets them know when
the warnings are issued, a solid safe place and they even have cable and
internet in their safe room! "You don't want to come out too soon and again it's
not a problem for me to sit down there we're comfortable, so I’m in no hurry to
get out until I’ve got the all clear from FOX 17 that it's ok to come outside,"
you're unsure where your safe place should be, get in your bath tub with a
blanket over your head. Sturdy pipes usually make a bathroom the safest place to
be. But advanced warning is key to surviving a tornado. If severe weather
strikes rely on the FOX 17 weather team to get you through the storm, you can
even stream us live on your smart phone at m.fox17.com while you're in your safe
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