10 Tornado Prep Tips –
Tornado season is here and if you live in a tornado prone area, you’ll want to make sure you’ve taken any precautions that you can. The last few years have shown a significant increase in not only tornado activity, but tornadic strength as well. While you can’t prepare totally for such an unpredictable disaster, there are things that you can do to try and minimize the damage.
- Location, Location, Location – The first thing you should do is identify a place in your home where family members and pets can meet if a tornado strikes. Don’t wait until a tornado is threatening your home to do this. Ideally, you want a basement or root cellar, but if you don’t have one, check the center most interior room on the bottom floor of your home. If that won’t work, try to pick a room with no windows or a small closet. Under no circumstances should you try to ride a tornado out on the second floor.
- Acts of God – The next thing to think about is making sure that you have proper insurance. Not only health insurance, but home owners or renters insurance as well as making sure your car is covered. The key to making sure you’re covered is to be certain that your policy covers “Acts of God.” If not, you may not be covered in the event of the unthinkable.
- Go Bag – Next, you’ll want to make sure that you have a 72 hour or Go bag for each family member and that your bag is ready to be grabbed. In the bag you should keep duplicate copies of all of your identifying info, a 3 day supply of food and water, change of clothes for 3 days and first aid supplies at the very minimum. Also consider adding a bit of cash and a spare cell phone to your bag too. Also make sure that you have a 3 day supply of any prescription medication kept in your bag too. Make sure that you keep your bag light enough to carry easily.
- Supply & Demand – You’ll also want to be sure you have enough emergency supplies on hand for during and after the storm. Things like a flashlight for each family member, spare batteries, a hand crank (or battery powered) weather radio, blankets, extra food and water and extra first aid supplies. Store them in a heavy duty “Tuff” box so that they have a better chance of not being ruined. If you have kids or babies, be sure you add items they’ll need too as well as a few things to help keep them entertained.
- Preventive Shut Off – Take a walk through your home and make sure that you know where the shut off valves for the water, gas and electric are. Make note of these locations because if a tornado is on the ground, you’ll want to shut them off quickly.
- Emergency apps – If you live in a tornado prone area, be sure that you keep at least one emergency app on your phone. These apps will notify you in the event of a tornado on the ground as well as help you notify your friends and family that you’re safe after.
- Storm Shutters – We all know that there isn’t much that will prevent a tornado from destroying a window, but storm shutters are a good idea. They create a second layer of protection from flying debris and may buy you a few precious seconds to get out of the way if needed.
- The “Phone Tree” – A phone tree is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a group of people who are ready to forewarn each other in the event of a tornado. One person starts the call and each person makes one call from there. Something like this is crucial for early warning since one person may be able to see something that you cannot.
- Helmets aren’t just for football – As funny as it sounds, a helmet during a tornado can save your life. Head injuries are a very, very common thing during a tornado and wearing a helmet can help prevent that. You might look (and feel!) silly, but this really is a “better to be safe than sorry” situation.
- Practice makes perfect – I’m sure most of you remember having tornado drills in school, lining up in front of the lockers, curled up into a ball protecting your neck. Just because you’re not in school any longer doesn’t mean that those drills should end. Once a month, gather the family and have a tornado drill. Make sure that everyone gathers what is needed and meets in your designated location. This is especially important if you have kids. Yes, they may have those drills at school, but if a storm hits while they’re at home, I can guarantee you they won’t remember the training.
The biggest thing that you can do to prepare for a tornado is to just learn. Learn the signs so that you easily know if you’re in immediate danger from one. Learn what your local schedule is for testing alarms and learn what the alarm system is exactly (for instance how many blares signals an all clear signal?) so that there is no mistaking when it is legitimately going off. Once you hear it? Don’t wait. Too many people have been seriously hurt or killed because they ignored a tornado siren.
Do you have any other Tornado Prep Tips to add? Comment and let me know.