Tornado Safety Tips
Spring is in the air and most people are anxious for the warmer temperatures and sunshine! However, in the Midwest, the changing weather often results in severe storms and tornadic activity. Protect yourself and your property from tornados and severe winds with these tips!
Emergency Preparedness Plan
First, you and your family should make an emergency preparedness plan. Ideally this plan would encompass a variety of emergency situations, including tornados. One of the most crucial parts of your emergency plan is knowing where to safely shelter during a tornado. A basement room with no windows is ideal. If you do not have a basement, you should get to an inside, windowless room on the lowest floor such as a bathroom, closet or center hallway. If you are outdoors during a tornado, seek shelter in a basement or sturdy building. If you can’t quickly walk to shelter, drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If you can’t do this, pull over and park (but stay away from bridges and overpasses). Keep your seat belt on and engine running. Put your head down below the car windows and, if you have a blanket, cover yourself with the blanket. If you live in a mobile home, do not stay in the mobile home, but go to the community storm shelter.
Once you have designated a shelter room in your home, you will need to stock it with an emergency kit. A basic emergency kit should include:
- A battery-operated radio with fresh batteries
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- 2-3 days’ worth of fresh water and nonperishable foods for everyone in your family – including pets! Be sure to pack a can opener if your kit includes canned foods
- Necessary medications for everyone in your family
- Hard soled shoes or boots for everyone in your family (in case you need to walk over broken glass after the storm)
- Cell phone charger
- First aid kit
- A blanket or sleeping bag for each person in the family
If you want a more extensive emergency kit, consider adding the following:
- Dust masks
- Trash bags and wet wipes
- Board games, puzzles
- Fire extinguisher
- Change of clothes for every family member
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Disposable plates, cups, utensils
Pay attention to the weather conditions and seek shelter during a tornado warning. Make sure everyone in your family knows how to get back in touch if separated.
(Consider installing storm shutters)
Protect Your Property
You can also take measures to protect your property during a tornado. Do not leave loose items and debris in your yard. Keep it clean of fallen branches and firewood. Keep trees trimmed of damaged limbs. Tree limbs can get hurled by the wind at great speed and cause a lot of damage. Bring in outdoor items such a BBQ grill during a storm. If your budget allows, consider installing storm shutters. Storm shutters will protect your home from broken glass and help prevent damage. Strengthen garage doors with a garage door storm kit or by installing custom 2×4 braces on the garage door. Garage doors can be damaged allowing strong winds to enter the house. The strong winds apply pressure to the walls and can potentially lift a roof off the house!
Being prepared is a great way to protect yourself and your loved ones. If you would like help installing storm shutters or bracing your garage door, consider using Agape’s handyman service!