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Protect your noggin': Wednesday is National Safe Place Selfie Day

Wednesday is National Safe Place Selfie Day — an effort to help promote safety and awareness as we head into the increasingly stormy spring and summer months. WHQR’s Ben Schachtman spoke with Ian Boatman, from Wilmington’s National Weather Service office, about the program.

Ben Schachtman: Alright, my guest now is Ian Boatman. He's a meteorologist and ‘social media focal point’ for NWS Wilmington. Ian thanks for being with us.

Ian Boatman: Hey, Ben, thank you for having me.

BS: Okay, so we're here to talk about the safe place selfie day. That's on Wednesday. And because it is getting towards a particular time of year, knowing the safest place in your house, or your apartment, or even your place of work is increasingly important.

Ian: Yeah. So as we get into deeper into April and the spring and summer, thunderstorms become a much bigger role in day-to-day life around here, particularly in the late afternoon and evening hours. And with that comes possibilities of damaging winds, large hail, tornadoes, and things like that. So we really need to spread out a campaign of how people can stay safe when severe weather strikes their area. Hopefully, you won't have to deal with that at all. But you should be able to know what happens when severe weather strikes.

BS: Okay, so in the worst-case scenario of a tornado or hurricane. A question I get from a lot of people, especially people who've moved here from the Northeast or the Midwest is what do you do if you do not have a basement because apparently, that's just not a thing we have in the southeast.

Ian: Yeah, it's not really a thing around here. That's mostly a thing in the Midwest and in the Great Plains. Certainly a basement is kind of a best-case scenario. But if you don't have that, which most people don't around here, your lower interior room is often the best case in these circumstances. So a downstairs bathroom or closet is a good place to be. You want to make sure to really put as many walls between you and the outside as possible. Avoid windows, I know oftentimes, your downstairs bathroom probably has a mirror in it, which is a class obviously for most people. So in that case, make sure you rip off couch cushions and use that to protect your head. Put on a bike helmet, football helmet, softball, helmet, things like that, because the name of the game is really protecting your head.

BS: So don't be afraid to feel silly. Just protect your noggin.

Ian: Yes, absolutely.

BS: Okay, so tell me a little bit about Safe Place Selfie Day, which is this Wednesday.

Ian: Yes. In the spirit of getting into deeper in the storm season, we wanted to have a national campaign about getting the word out on how to protect yourself, if and when severe weather strikes your neck of the woods. So this coming Wednesday is National Safe Place Selfie Day. And we want everybody out there to take a selfie in their home, in their workplace, wherever you are, wherever you go in that particular building when severe weather strikes. So in leading up to this event, go walk around your house, apartment, place of work, what have you, and find that spot. And this coming Wednesday, take a selfie, and send it over to us at the National Weather Service in Wilmington, North Carolina. We are available on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And we will repost the stuff that you send us.

BS: Now you guys are on all these social media platforms. I'm impressed.

Ian: Yes. All right, getting there.

BS: All right, Ian Boatman. Thanks so much for your time.

Ian: Hey, thank you appreciate it.

BS: And again, that hashtag is ‘safe place selfie.’ And you can find more information at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA at NOAA.gov/safeplaceselfie.

Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature. He loves spending time with his wife and playing rock'n'roll very loudly. You can reach him at BSchachtman@whqr.org and find him on Twitter @Ben_Schachtman.