307797 Vulnerabilities of Residents in Multi-Storied, Multi-Unit Housing Structures to Tornadoes with Emphasis on the Need for Building Weather-Ready Communities in Urban Settings

Tuesday, 24 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Monique A. Sellers, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and M. A. Stalcup

Residents of multi-story, multi-unit housing structures are a vulnerable subsector of the population whose atmospheric hazard mitigation needs have not been studied extensively.  Of the natural hazards that have the potential to impact these residents, tornades present the greatest risk to life and property.  Ongoing research in this area has focussed on the risks to residents of mobile homes, single-family homes, educational buildings, and motorists.  With the exclusion of storm shelters and safe rooms, the structures listed above have been used as a benchmark to best represent the different locations in which people are most likely to be located during a severe weather event, such as a tornado.  Although multi-story, multi-unit housing structures do not represent a large percentage of the building types found in many rural and urban areas, the potential for injury or death from tornadoes to this locally dense population is significant enough to warrant further investigation.  Additional questions that need to be addressed include the following.  Should tenants of multi-story, multi-unit housing structures be classified as a separate vulnerable population, with obstacles and risks that require different hazard mitigation considerations that other types of housing structures?  What are the hazards to these residents during a tornado?  What obstacles do these residents face when seeking shelter?  What is current advice given to residents during these events?  Is this information sufficient, or is there room for reform?  Through our research we aim to highlight the overall threat posed to this population with the hopes of underscoring the need for change.
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