Budgets and Money

Tornado Preparedness

There are several steps you can take to protect your family when a tornado strikes. Follow this checklist so you will be prepared during tornado season.

Tornado Safety Tips for Homeowners

Tornado season is in full swing! To help keep your family safe and prepared for all types of weather, follow the checklist below.

Keep your insurance up to date.

Make sure to stay on top of your homeowner's insurance. You may want to take pictures of your home and its contents

Know where to go.

If your home doesn't have a storm shelter, designate a safe room. If possible, a basement or below ground room works best. If you must be above ground, pick a location close to the center of the building, away from windows and other glass.

Think beyond home.

Tornados could happen at any time, familiarize yourself with work and school tornado procedures. Designate a meeting spot outside of your neighborhood, and draw a map.

Prepare to survive for at least three days.

In your safe room, make sure you have a fully stocked emergency kit and a “go bag.” A basic disaster supplies kit should contain:

  • One gallon of water per person, per day, for three days
  • Three days' worth of non-perishable food per person
  • A first aid kit.
  • A set of sturdy shoes or boots for everyone in the family
  • Ways to communicate: battery operated radio or TV, a whistle, high contrast / reflective clothing, flashlights, extra batteries, cell phones
  • Tools: wrench and pliers, can opener, plastic sheeting, duct tape
  • Refer to www.ready.gov, www.fema.gov, or emergency.cdc.gov for full emergency kit instructions

Create a “Go” bag.

A go bag should contain many of the same things as your disaster supplies kit, but you need to be able to carry it. You won't be able to take three days' worth of food and water with you, but keep some bottled water and non-perishable food handy. Also include:

  • Important documents: Financial, insurance, ownership, proof of citizenship, passport, photo ID
  • A map to your designated meeting place
  • Cash in small bills
  • Extra sets of keys to vehicles and your home
  • Tools for keeping safe, dry and warm: matches, flashlights, ponchos, blankets, sturdy cord or rope

Don't forget medication.

Remember when you're building your kits to include any medication members of your family might need with dose and time notations, child care supplies, feminine products, paper towels and toilet paper. Take stock and think about all the things that would make weathering a disaster more manageable.

Stay home.

Remember that during a tornado the safest thing you can do is stay put. Only leave your home if it becomes too dangerous to stay, or if an evacuation is ordered by the authorities.

Make a communications plan.

Complete these communication templates so that everyone knows what to do, where to go, and who to contact. Make sure everyone has a copy of important maps, phone numbers, and instructions.

Tornados are unpredictable beasts. They tend to follow a certain set of conditions, but not always! Assume that they won't, and prepare to put your plan into action at any time of the day or night, and at any location. Teach your kids to look for emergency exits wherever they are, and where not to take cover near windows, under bridges, or in vehicles. Many places that offer a feeling of safety can be more dangerous than simply laying in a ditch and covering your head.

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