In the aftermath of the vicious spring storms ripping through the Midwest, there has been quite a bit of discussion in regards to the building of safe rooms or safe shelters, especially in schools. Taking both time and money to accomplish this task, there may be a less expensive and immediate option that can make a difference now. Helmets, whether they are sport helmets, motorcycle helmets, even bicycle helmets have been reported as making a difference in survival rates of those in the path of a severe storm.
When reading survival stories after the recent massive tornado in Oklahoma, many of those who escaped serious injury were wearing helmets. Not only did the storm victims seek the nearest shelter, they also had some sort of safety helmet on their heads.
After tornados swept through Alabama and Georgia in 2011, Fox 5 in Atlanta was one of the first news agencies to report on the importance of wearing helmets, even motorcycle helmets, during dangerous weather conditions. Russ Fine of the University of Alabama at Birmingham stated that of the 248 people who were killed, “Not surprising, almost half had died principally because of severe head injuries.
Two stories were noted by Fox 5 in Atlanta as perfect examples of how a helmet can help in a tornado. One of the stories was about Birmingham police officer, Mike Culberson, who wore his motorcycle helmet during a tornado as trees crashed down on his house and heavy beams blew through the ceiling on top of his head. The other story was about a young man named Noah Stewart. As Noah and his family were sucked out of their home during a tornado, it was reported that Noah flew as high as a telephone pole and landed a far distance away. Noah was wearing his baseball helmet, and that probably saved his life.
Motorcycle helmets with a DOT (Department of Transportation) safety rating can be purchased for $99 or even as low as $69 for unsold older models and can really make a difference not only during a motorcycle accident but also when a tornado rips through town.