Nearly 7.3 million American households live in mobile homes or manufactured housing according to the 2005 American Community Survey. Of all households, these families face the largest risk of damage to their homes during a natural disaster. Residents of mobile homes face greater risks of damage from high winds -- homes may be damaged in Category 1 hurricanes and are subject to complete destruction in tornadoes.
Mobile home residents are twice as likely to die in a fire compared to residents of other structures because fires spread faster in mobile homes.
A number of factors, including structural and non-structural issues, combine to make mobile home residents particularly vulnerable to natural disasters.
During high wind conditions, mobile homes have been known to collapse, crushing the residents and can be blown off of their foundations. Community buildings in mobile home parks are also often structurally vulnerable.
Risk of injury from severe winds and fatality from fire are greater. Sheltering-in-place during a disaster is not an effective strategy for mobile home residents, due to lower structural quality of mobile homes and higher risk of damage and injury. Mobile home residents face lower evacuation thresholds than residents of non-manufactured housing. These residents may need to evacuate their homes in less severe conditions than their neighbors in more traditional housing.
Mobile home residents are more likely to be low-income, elderly, have low English-proficiency, or have pets. Any of these factors could make mobile home residents more vulnerable during a disaster.
Be sure to have a NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio--with working batteries.
Pay close attention to weather reports. Know the difference between a watch and a warning.
Plan where to go during severe weather -- for instance, a relative or friend's home.
When a tornado warning has been issued, leave your manufactured home immediately. Go to your pre-planned safe place or lie down in a low area with your hands covering the back of your head and neck.
Near the main exit door, keep a family safety kit containing a change of clothes for each family member, a blanket, a first aid kit, and a flashlight.
Be sure your manufactured home is installed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and all applicable state and county regulations.
If your manufactured home is located in a flood hazard area, be prepared to go to a safe place on high ground when flood or flash flood warnings are issued for your area.
Most standards residential policies do not cover flood loss. In flood-prone communities, the National Flood Insurance Program makes flood insurance available for manufactured homes on foundations. See your insurance broker for details.
Be sure you have properly operating smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
Insure your personal property. Shop around for a company that best meets your needs for renters or homeowner's insurance.
Plan, with the whole family, at least two escape routes from your manufactured home.
Practice fire drills regularly, using a smoke detector as a signal to start the drill. Follow your escape plan!
Keep matches and lighters away from small children. Children tend to be curious about fire and tend to hide when frightened. Fire drills are most important for children between the ages of 2 and 12.
Be sure your heating and electrical systems are properly maintained and in good working order.
Carefully follow the instructions on all appliances and heating units, taking special care not to overload your electrical system.
In Case Of Fire
Always crawl close to the floor in smoke.
Feel each door for heat before opening it.
If your clothing catches on fire, stop, drop to the floor, and roll over and over again to put out the flames.
Call the fire department from a neighbor's phone. Leave your manufactured home before calling for help.
Contact your American Red Cross for assistance to meet your emergency needs - groceries, new clothing, a place to stay, or assistance replacing lost medications.