Tornado victim thinks helmets may have prevented injuries

10:33 PM, Mar 19, 2013   |    comments
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Tayler and Terrance Davis wear motorcycle helmets in a storm.

CONCORD, Ga. -- A tornado that ripped through the city of Concord in Pike County left damage but no injuries behind. One family thinks they avoided injury because they were prepared. Part of that preparation was having helmets to protect their heads.

"Storm windows are not what they seem," said James Davis after three windows on the front of his home blew in during the storm. Two French doors on the back of the home were also blown off creating a wind tunnel through his living room.

"Glass was flying, debris was flying, everything flew off the walls," Davis said. "It looked like the tornado went through the center of our house."

But Davis and his family were prepared. Davis, his wife Teresa and two children, Tayler and Terrance grabbed their motorcycle helmets and hunkered down in a small closet with their dog and three cats. "We had actually just gotten into the closet when the windows blew in," he said.

Tayler said she was glad she had the helmet on. "I was down and there was something over me and it was really heavy and it fell on my head," she said.

Had the family been in the living area with no helmets, there could have been serious, even fatal injuries. The winds that roared through his house tore up a shed in the back yard, moved another one six feet off its foundation, and threw his pontoon boat 30 feet from where it was originally parked.

Davis is an avid motorcyclist and each of his family members has their own helmet. "Why would you not have them on if you think a tornado's fixing to hit your house? It would be stupid not to put it on," he said.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people in the path of a tornado find a shelter or a tornado-safe room first. Knowing that head injuries are a common cause of death during tornadoes, they also recommend people try to protect their heads.

A Helmet and Tornado Statement on the CDC's website says "If people choose to use helmets, these helmets should not be considered an alternative to seeking appropriate shelter. Helmets should be considered just one part of their overall tornado preparedness kit to avoid any delay."

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