Family uses helmets for protection

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 6, 2017

Everyone has their own methods of working to ensure his or her family is protected when severe weather strikes.

It’s tornado season and threats of severe weather twice this week prompted school officials to close schools – Monday and Wednesday – and several retailers were closed, city and county government offices and a host of other closures throughout the week.

One local family has taken to wearing helmets or pots on their heads to protect themselves from potential head injuries.

“We do it every time,” said Christy Sasser. “Bad weather scares the daylights out of me. And I read an article that said you were more likely to survive a tornado if you protect your head.”

Sasser said that at their house, if Covington County is under a tornado watch or warning, they put helmets or pots on their heads and all get in their safe places until it has passed.

“I always stream WAAO on my phone so that I can stay up-to-date on where the bad weather is at every moment,” she said. “Today, I am praising the Lord no one was hurt, but I will continue to equip my family with protective head gear every time bad weather strikes.”

Wednesday’s storms weren’t as bad as anticipated. Covington County was placed under a tornado warning around 8:30 a.m. There were several severe thunderstorm warnings, as well.

Since the April 2011 tornado outbreak that wreaked havoc in Tuscaloosa and surrounding areas, many people have added helmets to their emergency plan.

That outbreak killed more than 250 people in Alabama, six years ago.

In 2012, UAB researchers said that using motorcycle helmets, football helmets and bicycle helmet offered an inexpensive option for helping reduce the risk of head injuries during a tornado.

The Centers for Disease Control said, “We understand that people are looking for any useful and effective ways to protect themselves. We don’t have research on the effectiveness of helmet use to prevent head injuries during a tornado, but we do know that head injuries are common causes of death during tornadoes. CDC has long made the recommendation that people try to protect their heads. Because the time to react may be shot; if people choose to use helmets they should know where they are and have them readily accessible. Looking for a helmet in the few seconds before a tornado hits may delay you getting to shelter. If people choose to use helmets, these helmets should not be considered an alternative to seeking appropriate shelter. Rather, helmets should be considered just one part of their overall home tornado preparedness kit to avoid any delay.”