KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It is severe weather season, and it is important to prepare for any situation.
If you are following the WATE’s Storm Team on social media. You may have noticed posts about safe place selfie day. Those posts have some significant meaning behind them.
“Our first priority is life safety. So anytime that you have an event that is storm-related that could impact someone’s life such as a person trapped in a home, we had that last weekend, as opposed to a brush fire caused by down power lines, we’re going to go to the person that’s trapped in the home first. So our dispatchers are trained to prioritize those calls based on the emergent needs and then we go from there and send the closest apparatus to handle that emergency,” Jeff Bagwell with Rural Metro said regarding to severe weather.
So, what is a safe place? Where would that be in your home?
“A safe place is in the center part of your home, typically on the first floor or in the basement and we want it to be in the center interior room away from doors, windows and away from exterior walls. So, we want it to be in the center of the house on the lowest possible level,” he said.
What are some of the dangers in your home?
Some of the dangers within a home can include sliding glass doors, storm doors and windows in the event of a severe storm, according to Bagwell.
He stated if you live in a home with multiple stories the crews “don’t want to go on the upper floor.” Those who live in a mobile home or in a building without a “safe place,” are recommended to leave the building and find a more sound structure.
“You want to take a flashlight, if the power goes out you may need to see to get out. Take your cell phone and maybe a battery pack that you can change it if the battery and the power go out in your house. You want to be able to have your phone so you can watch the weather app. So you can track where the storms are,” Bagwell said.
He continued, “You may take some blankets or pillows in the event that there is a collapse, you can have something that gives you a bit of padding.”
If something like a collapse occurs, as a first responder Bagwell said first responders “are going to make sure that the structure is stable.”
“If it’s partially collapsed, if you have some kind of structural damage, we’re going to make sure that’s structurally safe before we ever try to remove you. Because ideally, you may be in the most stable part of the house if you’ve gone to that interior room. So we have to peel away the damage to get to you, which takes time. So again we talk about having water, we talk about having a snack. Those types of things may take time in that type of structural collapse type incident,” he said.
Bagwell mentioned that the public will want to have important documents and photos of their home for insurance purposes.