Preparing for a tornado
There’s not a lot you can do to prevent tornado damage to your home, but you can take steps to prevent injury to the people inside it.
Tips for tornado safety
Pick a safe space
This should be a spot everyone can get to quickly. Or, consider a safe room for maximum protection.
How to pick a tornado safe space
- Home with basement – The basement is often your safest bet, if it’s not prone to flooding. Pick a space away from windows and under some kind of sturdy protection if possible, like a heavy table.
- Apartment building or home without a basement – Find a space away from windows on the lowest floor possible, like a small centered room, an interior hallway or under a stairwell.
- Mobile home – Find an underground shelter or sturdy permanent structure nearby.
Do a practice tornado drill at least once a year. Make sure your family also knows where to go during a tornado if they’re not at home, and pick a local place to meet if you’re separated during a tornado.
Create survival and first aid kits
Stow them in your safe space. Include things like non-perishable foods, bottled water, flashlight, batteries, phone chargers, first aid supplies, and medicines. Keep heavy blankets or an old mattress in your space too, for added protection.
Secure important documents
Use a fire box, safe, or safety deposit box to store things like contact information for family and friends, insurance information, passports, birth certificates, and marriage licenses.
Create a home inventory and schedule an insurance review.
Watch or warning
Educate your family on the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning, and know what to do during each. Make sure everyone knows how to spot a tornado too. Watch for a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud, an approaching cloud of debris or a loud roar that’s similar to a freight train.