Flowers are blooming, temperatures are rising, and the pollen count is up. Spring is well underway — which also means that tornado season is upon us. Most tornadoes in the United States strike between the months of March and June, and while there’s nothing you can do to prevent your home from being in the path of the storm, there are a few things you can do beforehand to better prepare for a safer tornado season. Here’s how to stay safe during a tornado.
Make Sure Insurance Policies Are Up-to-Date
Before a tornado hits, it’s important to make sure your home is properly insured. If you live in tornado alley, it may be worthwhile to sit down with your insurance agent and discuss options —including flood insurance — for a plan that will provide plenty of coverage in the event of a natural disaster.
Identify a Safe Place For Your Household
Even for the most prepared families, tornadoes can become high-stress situations when the sirens sound. You don’t want to be scouring the house, searching for a safe place to gather. Well in advance, make sure to identify and discuss with your family which place on the lowest floor, near the center of the home, and away from windows you’ll shelter in place. Bathrooms and closets under stairs are common places for people to gather. Just remember, if it’s a closet you currently use for storage, you may need to clean it out ahead of time.
Create a Emergency Survival Kit
Perhaps the most important tip for preparing for a storm of any kind is creating a proper survival kit. Spend some time thinking about the items your family would need most and build an easily accessible kit that will keep them safe and entertained. Some ideas include:
- bottled water
- pet food and water bowl
- extra clothes (pants, long sleeves, sturdy shoes)
- bicycle helmets
- battery-operated or crank radio
- extra batteries
- cell phone chargers
- deck of cards or games for entertainment
Consider hiring an arborist to check the health of your trees, especially if you have any large trees close to your home that are at risk of falling during a storm. If trees are touching your roof, trimming the branches can help keep your roof in better shape, too.
Identify & Secure Top-Heavy Furniture
To keep your family safe and your furniture as protected as possible, it’s a smart idea to identify any pieces of furniture that are tall or top-heavy, and secure them to the walls.
Get Organized Now
Being organized means having a plan. Talk with your family about what you will do in the case of various emergencies like tornadoes, and have practice drills so that everyone gets comfortable with the plan. Have important paperwork and family valuables in an easy-to-grab location, because you might not have much time in an emergency (think social security cards, birth certificates, photographs, jewelry, and family heirlooms).
We know the safety of your home is important, and the safety of your family members is even more critical. Learning how to stay safe in a tornado will prepare you and your loved ones for a safer severe weather season.