Tornado safety: How to prepare

by | February 13, 2020 3:59 pm

Don’t wait for the sirens or the alert on your phone. Here’s how to prepare now in case a tornado comes your way. There’s not a lot you can do to prevent tornado damage to your home, but you can take steps to prevent injury to the people inside it.

Tips for tornado safety

Pick a safe space—This should be a spot everyone can get to quickly. Or, consider a safe room for maximum protection.

How to pick a tornado safe space

Home with basement – The basement is often your safest bet, if it’s not prone to flooding. Pick a space away from windows and under some kind of sturdy protection if possible, like a heavy table.

Apartment building or home without a basement– Find a space away from windows on the lowest floor possible, like a small centered room, an interior hallway or under a stairwell.

Mobile home – Find an underground shelter or sturdy permanent structure nearby.

Do a practice tornado drill at least once a year. Make sure your family also knows where to go during a tornado if they’re not at home, and pick a local place to meet if you’re separated during a tornado.

Create survival and first aid kits

Stow them in your safe space. Include things like non-perishable foods, bottled water, flashlight, batteries, phone chargers, first aid supplies, and medicines. Keep heavy blankets or an old mattress in your space, too, for added protection.

Secure important documents

Use a fire box, safe, or safety deposit box to store things like contact information for family and friends, insurance information, passports, birth certificates, and marriage licenses.

Create a home inventory and schedule an insurance review

A detailed home inventory can help make sure you have the right coverage for your belongings. And if you’re a homeowner, talk with your insurance agent to make sure your home is covered for its replacement cost value.

Watch or warning

Educate your family on the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning and know what to do during each. Make sure everyone knows how to spot a tornado too. Watch for a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud, an approaching cloud of debris or a loud roar that’s similar to a freight train.

Use this tornado preparedness checklist to keep your plan on track. And when severe weather is on the way, tune in to your NOAA radio station or your local news for the latest updates.

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