Spring time is often thought of as “Tornado Season” because most tornadoes occur between the months of April and June; however, tornadoes can happen all throughout the year. Tornadoes are considered nature’s most violent storms.  Originating from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes have proven to cause fatalities and devastation within seconds.  Although tornadoes can develop so rapidly that there is little, if any advance warning, it is important to always be prepared if you or your clients live in an area where tornadoes can or often occur.

Here are a few tips to recommend to your clients for what to do before, during and after a tornado hits.

Before the storm

  • Review your and your client’s insurance coverage at least once a year to ensure there are no gaps and you have enough coverage to rebuild your home or office based on current construction costs. Evaluate “Extended Business Income” needs.
  • Build a disaster preparedness kit based on our disaster preparedness checklist
  • Make sure there is a family communication plan
  • Be alert to changing weather conditions
  • Make sure your home or business is prepped for high-winds by fixing any areas that need repair, select impact-resistant window systems, anchor door frames securely to the wall framing.

During the storm

  • If you are in a structure (i.e. residence, building, hospital, factory, etc.), go to a pre-designated shelter such as a safe-room, basement, or the lowest building level. Try to put as many walls between yourself and the outside.
  • Stay away from windows and corners.
  • Try to find sturdy shoes such as rain boots to avoid getting cut on debris.
  • If you’re in your car, buckle your seatbelt and drive to the closest sturdy shelter. Do not take shelter under an overpass or bridge. If that is not an option, pull over, stay in the car with your seatbelt on, put your head down below the windows and cover your head with your hands, a blanket or coat if possible.
  • Flying debris causes most injuries and fatalities, so use your arms to protect your head and neck.

After the storm

  • Studies show that nearly 50% of tornado-related injuries are suffered during rescue attempts, clean-up and post-tornado activities. Be sure to check for injuries, but do not attempt to move seriously injured people unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
  • Continue to monitor the news, radio, etc. for further emergency information.
  • Wear sturdy shoes and clothes when searching through debris.
  • Never use generators, pressure washers, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside your home or even outside near your home as there could be Carbon Monoxide leaks that you are unaware of.
  • Be careful when inspecting your home or business for damage. If you do suspect damage, be sure to shut off all electric and gas before entering the structure to avoid fire.
  • Contact contractors to give a more in-depth inspection and estimate of clean-up costs.

Remember, in any emergency, always stay informed of any instructions given by local emergency management officials.  Although there is nothing you can do to prevent a tornado, there are actions you can take to protect your health and safety and to reduce damage to your buildings.

Sources: http://www.ready.gov/be-informed; www.fema.gov; www.redcross.org

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