Severe weather safety: How to protect yourself while away from home when a storm is approaching

TULSA - Unlike planning for safety at home, knowing what to do while out and about during severe weather is not always easy.

Some businesses have procedures, like the Promenade Mall's shelter plan for customers.

"They are exterior hallways that are in between the stores. Each store has already been through their emergency procedures," explains Tina Crosley, the mall's manager.

Big box stores may seem safe, but looks can be deceiving. Often the roofs of those buildings are only supported by exterior walls, not a good choice for weathering a storm.

If you can't find better shelter, experts say it's best to position yourself near something stable like columns while avoiding windows and glass doors.

If you find yourself in a sturdier building, the best option is usually the basement, or going to the ground floor. The rules for protecting yourself at home also apply; move away from exterior walls and windows.

The National Weather Service says a car is among the worst places you can be during a severe weather event. Winds can pick them up throwing them like toys. Lying flat in a ditch or culvert can be safer than staying in your car.

But if you're forced to stay in your vehicle, you should get as low as possible while keeping your seatbelt on. Also, use your arms and to protect your head.

RELATED STORY: The Weather Channel meteorologist Mike Bettes says if you can't find shelter that a vehicle keeps you from being exposed to the elements.

No matter where you are, remember it's flying debris that can cause the most damage and injury.


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