Preparing for a Tornado
Severe weather has been affecting the Midwest and Southern U.S. Devastating tornadoes have ripped through the Central Plains, initiating a tense tornado season that is leaving residents of many vulnerable states uncertain. This recent outbreak of severe storm systems and tornadoes demonstrates the importance of ongoing disaster preparation. Even a relatively minor tornado can cause serious damage to homes and businesses and disrupt daily life across a large area. Early warning systems have been able to save lives, but these systems are not perfect. Remaining alert to weather forecasts and having a strong response plan in place are still the best ways in which you can protect yourself from a tornado. Here are some effective ways to prepare.
Build an Emergency Kit
One of single best ways to prepare for a tornado is to gather essential supplies into an emergency kit. There is not a lot you can do to prepare against the damage and destruction of a tornado, but ensuring you have survival items on hand is a good way to prepare nonetheless. Your emergency kit should contain items like: food, water, first aid kits, extra clothing, blankets, flashlights, batteries, a radio, medication, cash, and any important documents you may need. Store the kit in a secure, yet accessible place in the home. It is also helpful to keep a smaller vehicle kit in your vehicle to ensure that you have essential supplies if you are away from home during a storm. This kit can also function as a backup to the home kit.
Have a Shelter Plan
While it is impossible to foresee where exactly you will be when a tornado strikes, knowing where to seek shelter is very important to surviving a tornado. A pre-designated shelter at home should include a basement, cellar, interior bathroom, or the lowest level of the home. Hallways and closets are acceptable if you have no other recourse, and you should stay clear of windows, doors, corners, and outside walls. A tornado that touches down nearby necessitates a quick response by seeking shelter immediately. The same response applies if you are caught in your vehicle or outdoors. Seek out the nearest building for shelter or take cover in your car. Flying debris is one of the biggest threats during tornadoes, so have a shelter plan before a tornado strikes.
After a tornado has dissipated you should have a response plan for beginning a recovery. This likely includes knowing local emergency shelter information, calling insurance companies, and getting in touch with friends and family. The recovery process is long and often requires a dedicated professional restoration service to assist in the reconstruction process. Have an idea of what you will need to do in the aftermath of a tornado so you can initiate a faster recovery when the winds subside.