With Winter’s exit, warmer weather is here signaling the beginning of the seasonal storm season. Any powerful storm could spawn a Tornado of varying strength. The peak tornado season is between late spring and early summer but with the right circumstances a Tornado can spawn anytime. What can you do to prepare your home if you find yourself in a twister’s path? Here are a few things to help ensure your home and family are prepared for that possibility.
Pre-planning & Supplies
A tornado can strike with little warning, so it’s important to have certain supplies readily available in your home. Create a storm kit to keep essentials you may need and make sure to store the kit in a storm-resistant location for use during or the after a storm. Drinking water and nonperishable food may be in short supply after a major tornado. Keep these items stocked and check the expiration dates to make sure they’re fresh. Be sure to have a manual can opener on hand as well.
Prepare a Storm Shelter
Designate an interior room such as the basement or a first-floor bathroom to take shelter in and prepare that room with the supplies you would need for a tornado. If you are in a mobile home, be prepared to evacuate. Know your evacuation location well in advance and make sure that all family members know it as well.
Losing power is almost guaranteed during a powerful storm. When that happens, you’ll be in the dark for a potentially extended period of time depending on the damage. Keep several flashlights and extra batteries stored in your storm kit. Portable lamps that run on batteries are also available. Limit the use of candles; they are a common hazard of fires after a storm. Think smart and be safe.
Keep a portable propane tank and a full gas can stored in a secure location away from your home. This way your vehicle is ready if if you need to leave your location at a moment’s notice.
A battery powered weather radio is the best way to stay informed during severe weather. It is possible that phone service could go down. A battery powered AM/FM radio is a good source of information. You can find out where the storm has gone, where to go to find shelter or what aid is available in your area.
Always keep a first aid kit stored in your storm kit. Make sure to store extra prescription medication and other medical supplies to help during an emergency. Injuries can happen so it’s important to have supplies ready to treat them.
Keep cash on hand or stored in your storm shelter for use after a tornado If there is no power, it’s likely you won’t be able to access your credit cards or use an ATM. This will be a saving grace in a pinch if you need to purchase some things in a hurry.
Check to make sure your insurance is up-to-date and all-inclusive. Your insurance policy will need to be updated if you have changed, added, or removed anything structurally from your home. Make an inventory of all contents of your home and store it either online or in a secure place outside your home. Ensure that your contents’ coverage is enough to pay to replace any and all belongings. Remember to keep copies of your insurance policies and a home inventory in a safe location such as a safe deposit box, or a safe in a storm resistant location. You may need it after the storm has passed.
Preparing for a any natural disaster can seem intimidating, but your safety and the safety of your family come first. Make certain that your home is up to local building codes. After the storm passes, if your house was damaged by the storm, speak to a professional about rebuilding it to be more tornado-resistant. This can include anything from reinforcing masonry walls to adding clips, anchors, and straps to connections in wood frame buildings. Install up-to-code storm shutters because they are the best protection for your windows. Reinforce your chimney or install a reinforced garage door as well. With these tips, the next time a Tornado is in the area you can rest assured you are prepared!