Storm Damage

Tornado tips

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Helpful Tips

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Ordinary objects in the home -- shelves, cleaning material, electric wiring, a water heater -- can cause injury or damage in a tornado, flash flood, or other disaster. Anything that can move, fall, break, or cause a fire is a potential hazard.

As part of an emergency preparedness checklist, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross advise homeowners to anticipate and lessen the effects of disasters by:


Repairing defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections.

Fastening shelves securely.

Placing large, heavy objects on lower shelves.

Hanging pictures and mirrors away from beds.

Bracing overhead light fixtures.

Strapping the water heater to wall studs.

Repairing ceiling or foundation cracks.

Storing weed killers, pesticides, and flammables away from heat.

Placing oily polishing rags in covered metal cans.

Cleaning and repairing chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors, and gas vents.

 

As part of an emergency preparedness checklist, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross advise homeowners to anticipate and lessen the effects of disasters by:


What to do before a tornado:

Know the difference between a tornado 'watch' and 'warning'. A watch outlines approximately where, when, and for how long the probabilities of a tornado are highest. A warning means one has been sighted and describes the area that may be affected. Persons in that area should seek cover immediately.

Have emergency supplies on hand during the tornado season.

Keep a battery-operated radio, a flashlight, and a supply of fresh batteries in a convenient place.

Know the locations of designated shelter areas in public facilities. Most schools, public buildings, and shopping centers have such areas.

Make an inventory of your household furnishings and other possessions. Supplement the written inventory with photographs of each room, including furniture, pictures, and valuables. All inventories should be kept in a safe deposit box or some other safe place away from the premises.

If you live in a single-family home in a tornado-prone area, it's advisable to reinforce some interior portion as a shelter.

PLAN. Be sure everyone in your house knows in advance where to go and what to do in case a tornado warning is issued.

What to do if a tornado approaches:

Take cover immediately if a tornado warning is issued. Too often people don't take these warnings seriously enough.

Stay calm. Don't panic.

At home, seek shelter in the basement or the central part of the house, away from windows. Take cover on the lowest floor in a small room or under the staircase. Crawling under heavy furniture and covering yourself with a mattress will also provide protection.

At work, go to an interior hallway on the lowest floor in the building, below ground if possible. Stay away from windows, glass, walls, and doors.

If you're in a vehicle, don't try to flee from the path of the tornado. They're no match for the swift, erratic movement of a tornado, which sometimes has wind speeds of more than 200 miles per hour. Instead, abandon the vehicle and head for the nearest ditch or depression if no better shelter is immediately available.

If you live in a mobile home, seek shelter elsewhere, unless adequate shelter is provided by the mobile home park.

If a tornado strikes during school hours, teachers should keep children away from windows and seek shelter either in a designated area or in interior hallways. Concerned parents shouldn't try to go out in the storm to pick up their children at school.

What to do after a tornado:

Be alert for potential hazards. Take extreme care when moving about in an area damaged by a tornado. Be alert for broken lines, shattered glass, splintered wood, or other sharp protruding objects.

If your property is damaged, make temporary repairs to prevent further loss from rain, wind, and looting. Keep your receipts. The cost of temporary repairs may be reimbursable under your insurance policy.

Make a detailed list of all damaged or destroyed property.

Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible. Prompt service is usually available within hours after a tornado or other disaster strikes a community. Ordinary objects in the home -- shelves, cleaning material, electric wiring, a water heater -- can cause injury or damage in a tornado, flash flood, or other disaster. Anything that can move, fall, break, or cause a fire is a potential hazard.