Natural disasters such as tornadoes can be devastating acts of nature. Tornadoes are generally referred to as rotating, whirling winds that appear in a funnel shape. These storms can reach up to 300mph, causing a lot of destruction to land, infrastructure, and even the whole town within minutes. According to research, the United States is struck by about 3000 hailstorms annually, and hail that occurs during those severe storms can reach the size of a softball.
NOTE: Always follow local and federal authority guidelines for preparing for Tornadoes.
One must always prepare himself for nature’s most violent storms, sothings don’t get out of hand when they actually occur. If you are a prepper and consider preparedness important, here are someimportant tips for preparing for tornadoes:
Before the Tornado
If You Have A Yard, Maintain Trees and Shrubbery
First, you should make your surrounding secure, soit doesn’t cause any significant damage even if you are hit by a severe tornado, you should remove weak branches and tall trees that can fall on your home when hit by a storm – falling trees can cause fatalities and serious structural damage. This is really an important measure to take, especially if you live in a tornado-prone area.
Prepare Your Family
Preparing yourself and your family for the tornado beforehand would be a great thing as they will already know what steps to take before, during, and after a tornado. This is what you can do:
Discuss a solid plan and be practical about it
Planning is the best thing you can do as you can’t just stop a tornado. Have all the contact information jotted down along with the insurance information and out-of-town contacts. This list should be handed over to every family member so they can know where to go, what things to take, and how to be safe if a tornado hits.
Tell them the difference!
You should know and tell your family members the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. A tornado watch means just a possibility of a tornado, not the actual warning. While a tornado warning means there is a tornado already occurring or will occur soon and hit the town. You should go to your safe place immediately when you are informed about a tornado warning.
Store essential documents
You should plan for the things after the tornado as well because it will pass. Consider storing and taking copies of the most important documents like birth certificates, insurance information, and social security cards (helpful if you need to evacuate). Storing these documents will be valuable if you are not able to return back to your home right after getting hit by a tornado.
Get familiar with the nearest evacuation center
If you are located in the danger zone, you should know the closest evacuation center where you and your family can stay safe until the tornado has passed. Mostly, community centers, city buildings, or schools are used. Evacuation centers have medical attention and supplies available. You can also ask your family to use the nearest evacuation center as a meet-up place after the storm.
Prepare Your House
Once you have prepared yourself and your family, the next thing you should do is prepare your house for the storm to keep it and its residents safe. Here are some things you should do:
Create an emergency kit
An emergency kit should include water and food for at least 72 hours (per person). Also, don’t forget to add any first aid supplies, toiletries that you may need, and clothes along with flashlights and batteries. For more ideas, check out our article on Preparing and Organizing a Medical Aid Kit for Prepping.
Designate a safe room in your house
A safe place can be your basement, garage, rooms on your first floor, or a storm cellar. It shouldn’t have any windows to avoid contact with any flying debris. This place should be reinforced by a professional who can make it strong enough to provide extra protection during severe storms. You can also ask a professional to assess your residence for recommendations on adding more strength and stability to it. If you are using your basement as a safe room, beware that it can collect water as rain can also accompany the tornado.
Arrange and secure essentials in your safe room
You should put the emergency kit that you created, important documents, extra clothing, blankets, battery-powered radio, and other essentials in your safe room. This will help you cope with the emergency condition for long periods of time.
Keep Yourself Updated
You cannot just rely on your judgements and assumptions even if you know the possible signs of a tornado. Keeping yourself updated with the weather forecast by listening to a local radio station, watching a local news channel, or searching on the internet is the best thing you can do for surety. There are chances that your electrical supply might get damaged due to the storm, so investing in a Solar Hand Crank Radio/Flashlight is an excellent option to go for. This amazing gadget will help you stay informed and provide light as well, without even using batteries.
During the Tornado
If you are well-prepared and a tornado hits, you should run towards the designated safe room in your home and make sure all the windows are closed. The best practice here, if you have a manufactured home, is to evacuate it immediately (if the storm is severe) because most of these homes are vulnerable and have light frames that can be damaged due to the high winds.
You shouldn’t leave your home or the cellar until the storm has passed. Even if the tornado has passed, do not go outside as there can still be debris moving in the air or ground due to high winds. If you are already outdoors, take the following steps:
- Take shelter ASAP – make sure the place is a sturdy building or a basement.
- If you don’t see a shelter nearby and have a car, immediately drive to the nearest evacuation center. And don’t forget to buckle your seat belt in a hurry.
- Avoid using highway overpasses and bridges
- If debris is flying while driving, stop the car and park it, keeping your seat belt buckled and engine running. Keep your head down below the windows, covering it with your hands or a blanket/pillow.
After the Tornado
After the tornado has passed, take the following measures:
Look Out for Any Injuries First
Check if you have any injury, deal with it using your first aid kit. If someone needs medical attention, wait out the storm, and then help them.
Shut Off Utilities
Since heavy rain can also accompany a tornado, make sure to shut off your home’s electrical supply to avoid any inconvenience. Also, turn off the gas as its leakage can be extremely dangerous. Don’t light a match or smoke if you suspect that there maybe a gas leak.
Inspect Your Home for Damages
Using a flashlight, not candle, inspect your home for possible damages or a gas leak. Your primary focus should be on structural damages as they can cause immediate harm to your loved ones. If you suspect any severe damage and feel that your home is not safe anymore, leave and seek nearby shelter.
Still, stay alert
Even if the storm has passed, make sure to stay alert before returning home or leaving it. The high winds can occur again, leaving you susceptible to a considerable danger once again. You should tune into your local radio station to keep yourself updated regarding the current weather condition.
Help Others, If You Have Been Fortunate
If you, your family, and your property were unharmed, you should be thankful, and consider the fact that not everyone was so fortunate. Join in the rescue team or volunteer to help others. Follow the orders of the officials when volunteering to make sure that you are being helpful and constructive rather than making the situation worse further.