July 23, 2019

Disaster Preparedness: Tornado Tips

Unlike other weather emergencies, tornadoes develop quickly and often arrive without warning. To minimize costly damage, it's important you take steps to secure your home before these violent storms arise.

Reinforce your home

Although most tornadoes occur in the Midwest and Southeast during the spring and summer months, tornadoes can strike anywhere at any time. No matter where you live, a little planning can go a long way to protect your family and your home.

  • Windows: Since tornadoes can appear suddenly, permanent storm-shutters provide the best protection from high speed winds.
  • Garage door: Garage doors are one of the most vulnerable areas of your home during a tornado. Flying debris damages traditional garages, allowing winds to enter. As winds apply pressure, your roof can be carried away, leaving your home defenseless. Impact resistant garage doors can prevent extensive damage.
  • Doors: Open doorways increase the likelihood that wind and water damage will occur. To protect your home, install doors with three hinges and a deadbolt lock.
  • Exterior: Loose branches and debris can cause severe damage when picked up by strong winds. Trimming your trees and collecting loose items around your home can minimize harm. If given adequate notice, bring outdoor furniture inside your home.
  • Safe room: When built according to FEMA guidelines, a safe room will provide the most effective shelter for you and your family.  

On the bright side

While floods and earthquakes often require additional insurance protection, damage caused by wind from tornadoes is generally covered in your standard homeowners insurance policy. It's important to review your policy periodically to understand what is covered and what is not. Whether you rent or own, having adequate coverage will ensure that you're protected in times of need.

After a disaster strikes, you'll need to list your possessions and verify your losses for an insurance claim. Creating a home inventory beforehand will make the process much easier. Be sure to keep an electronic copy of your home inventory, along with other important documents, in a safe place and consider taking photos to accurately catalog your belongings.

Stay alert

Up-to-date emergency alerts are vital during severe weather situations. Since tornadoes strike suddenly, it's important that you act quickly. Consider signing up for your community's warning system.

  • Tornado Watch: Weather conditions are favorable for a tornado to develop. If you receive this alert, you should be aware of the weather conditions in your area and stay tuned for updates.
  • Tornado Warning: A tornado has actually been spotted in your area. After a warning has been issued, you should take shelter in an appropriate location and wait until the area has been declared safe.

For more resources and information visit, FEMA.gov or MyHome by Freddie Mac®.