No plans for man camp, camper residents in severe weatherA recent oil boom and competitive housing market in western North Dakota has led many residents to live in man camps, recreational vehicles, trailers and mobile homes. The trouble is those structures are unsafe to occupy in times of severe weather and there are few options as to where they should go in the event of severe summer weather.
A recent oil boom and competitive housing market in western North Dakota has led many residents to live in man camps, recreational vehicles, trailers and mobile homes. The trouble is those structures are unsafe to occupy in times of severe weather and there are few options as to where they should go in the event of severe summer weather.
Though it’s Severe Summer Weather Awareness Week and officials tested tornado sirens Wednesday morning, there is no where to go for some if they do hear the sirens.
Area emergency managers say many cities no longer have designated shelters for people to go to because of liability issues. There are no county plans in case of dangerous weather.
“The question of what to do came up a lot last year,” said Dunn County Emergency Manager Denise Brew. “The trouble is no one can answer that, the best I can do is advise them to ask neighbors or friends if it would be alright to come over during severe weather or call their city government and ask what options they have.”
Brew said because not much can be done for people in these situations, it is even more important for them to have a plan, pay attention to forecasts and check weather conditions periodically.
“It definitely isn’t the safest place to be during a tornado,” Crystal Bullinger said. The Dickinson Heartland Homes Village resident said while watching her kids play in the front yard of her mobile home. “I usually take my family to a friend’s house. She has a basement.”
Bullinger added, going to a familiar place can be comforting to children during severe weather.
“Storms come up fast, sometimes with little or no warning,” said Lindsay Tardiff-Huber, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Bismarck. “The worst thing to do is wait until you hear sirens. Use your best judgment, if you think it looks bad or you know there is a good chance a storm may pass through your area, act fast and carry out your severe weather plan.”
A severe weather plan includes escape routes, a safe meeting place, an out of town contact, a disaster supply kit, a plan of where pets will go, a plan for anyone who has a disability or special need in the family and a communication plan, according to the American Red Cross.
Ted Bratten, owner of North Park Campground in Dickinson, said he advises people in his campground to go to Wal-Mart.
“It is a sturdy building and it’s nearby, it is also open 24 hours except for a short period on Sunday,” Bratten said.
Stark County Emergency Manager Bill Fahlsing said in the event of a tornado, if no sturdy shelter is available the best thing to do is get out of the home and lie down in a low-lying area protecting your head.
If possible, use open ground away from trees and cars, which can be blown onto you, Fahlsing said.
“Another concern I have is for those driving to and from work that may get caught up in a storm,” Bowman County Emergency Manager Dean Pearson said.
Pearson said vehicles are extremely dangerous in a
“They can be picked up and carried off pretty easily,” Pearson said. “My suggestion is if traffic is light and the tornado is far away you may be able to avoid it by moving at right angles to it, but if it is nearby the best thing to do is get out of the vehicle and lie down in a ditch away from vehicles and protect your head.”
Pearson added people should never seek shelter under a bridge or overpass.
“It’s important to follow the emergency manager’s and Meteorologists instructions when it comes to severe weather,” Tardiff-Huber said. “Getting caught in a storm with lightning, hail and high winds can be life-threatening.”
Wal-Mart officials could not be reached Wednesday for comment.