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Severe Weather: Staying safe if you live in a mobile home park

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Posted at 6:08 AM, Mar 20, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — Mobile home parks are often the most vulnerable communities when severe weather strikes.

Researchers from Purdue University found that tornadoes often hit in the areas where cities transition into urban areas; due to pressure variations caused by warmer cities and cooler windier urban climate.

Those are the same places where we often find mobile homes.

“Even though these regions are extremely vulnerable to severe weather, the kind of structures, these homes are not necessarily storm resilient,” said Dev Niyogi, co-author of the study, a professor at Purdue, and former Indiana State Climatologist.

The dangers of living in mobile home communities aren’t lost on the people who live there, Kimberly Foster lives in a mobile home community on Indianapolis' south side.

“For the tornado drills we go out in the hallway or to the bathroom get in the tub,” Foster said.

Foster and her husband must always be ready to move quickly in case power is knocked out in a storm.

“My daughter has a really rare disease,” said Foster, talking about her seven-year-old daughter Rhylee. “If she goes to sleep she requires a machine to breath for her.”

That means the Fosters keep a generator on site, with plenty of gas to keep it running. They also have family nearby they can stay with in case they need to evacuate.

RTV6 called several mobile home parks around Indianapolis to find out what they do to keep their residents prepared for severe weather and we found out some parks don’t even have storm shelters.

Amanda Foster is Kimberly’s sister and lives in the same community.

“All we have here is the clubhouse shelter towards the front,” said Amanda. “It’s small so it’s not really big enough for all the families in the trailer park.”

The IMPD Homeland Security Bureau, Emergency Management Agency wants people living in mobile home communities to have an escape plan.

They say you should:

  • Know where you will evacuate to, a shelter or with friends or family
  • Take all important papers with you or leave those papers where you might evacuate
  • Pack medications, food, water, a change of clothes and sleeping bags for everyone in your family
  • Remember some shelters don’t take pets, so plan ahead
  • Stay up to date on conditions with a NOAA radio or on local media