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Tornado Safety: Preparing Your Home And Family For A Storm

Jun 11, 2014 2:30:00 AM


Even though tornado season in Indiana is typically considered April to July, these severe storms can happen at any time and often come with little warning. It is important to be prepared!

What steps can you take to prepare your home and family for a tornado?

Make And Discuss An Action Plan

  • It is important to not only establish a plan, but to also regularly remind your family of the plan.
  • Designate a safe space in your home. If you do not have a basement, interior hallways and central closets or bathrooms would be the next safest locations. Avoid spaces with windows and objects that could be thrown in the wind. The greatest danger is flying debris, so make sure your designated safe space has protective coverings nearby such as sleeping bags, thick blankets, etc.
  • If there is adequate time to evacuate to a safer location, be sure to have a plan of how to communicate with family members. Designate a primary and secondary meeting place for your family. Take some time to become familiar with the locations of the nearest evacuation shelters.

Make Safety Improvements

  • Be sure that your entry doors have three hinges and a deadbolt security lock with a bolt that is at least one inch long. Also make certain your door frames are securing anchored to wall framing
  • Keep your roof in good condition - fix any areas that need repair. If you are considering replacing your roof, look into materials that are designed to resist strong winds.
  • If you are thinking of replacing windows, consider installing impact-resistance window systems, they have a much better chance of surviving the high winds of a tornado
  • In preparation for high winds, be sure to remove damaged or diseased tree limbs from around your home and property as to reduce the risk of branches falling on your home during a storm.
  • If there is adequate time before a storm, secure or move outdoor items such as lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants, etc. which could be picked up by strong winds and become a projectile

Home Inventory
Tornadoes, and the damage they can cause, are a reminder to homeowners of the importance of making a home inventory. Take photos of your personal possessions and make detailed descriptions. You can help recover your losses more quickly and completely by keeping an up-to-date and detailed home inventory. Starting and maintaining a home inventory can be daunting, so try starting with one room at a time. It is important to keep your home inventory in a safe place such as a bank safety deposit box or other safe location outside of your home. The Insurance Information Institute offers a free online home inventory software to help get your started.

Keep Copies Of Important Documents
Make copies of important documents like birth certificates, passports, deeds, will, financial documents, and insurance policies. Keep originals in a safe location such as bank safety deposit box, a waterproof container, in-home safe, or with an out-of-town family member.

Know The Warning Signs Of A Tornado
Staying up-to-date with weather alerts via weather radio or newscasts is important, but tornadoes can occur without warning so it is also helpful to know the signs of a tornado. Besides a visible tornado, Ready.gov notes the following as things to look and listen for:

  • Dark, often greenish sky
  • Large hail
  • A large, dark, low-lying cloud particularly if rotating
  • Loud roar, similar to a freight train

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Written by Gibson

Gibson is a team of risk management and employee benefits professionals with a passion for helping leaders look beyond what others see and get to the proactive side of insurance. As an employee-owned company, Gibson is driven by close relationships with their clients, employees, and the communities they serve. The first Gibson office opened in 1933 in Northern Indiana, and as the company’s reach grew, so did their team. Today, Gibson serves clients across the country from offices in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Utah.