When news of a potential disaster breaks, it’s crucial to ensure you and your loved ones are prepared with a plan of action to minimize damage to your home and yourselves. Although you may believe you’re familiar with the drill, it’s important to remember key differences in preparing for various types of natural disasters. For instance, while preparing for a tornado or hurricane may have many similarities, they also require their own specific precautions to minimize risk to your property and belongings.
Oftentimes, strong hurricane force winds can cause tornadoes to form, resulting in twice the risk for your home and family. While emergency safety kits are one vital portion of a properly executed plan, it’s also imperative to have an evacuation route and battery-powered radio on hand. When putting together an emergency safety kit for either a hurricane or tornado, inclusion of the following items is vital:
- First aid kit (including medication to fit each person’s needs)
- At least 3 days worth of canned food
- A can opener
- A battery-powered flashlight
- A battery powered radio
- One gallon of water per person per day (for a minimum of 3 days)
- Spare batteries for flashlight and radio
- A whistle
- Portable chargers for cell phones (pre-charged) or solar chargers
- Local maps
- Toilet paper, moist towelettes, and garbage bags
Unlike tornadoes, weather officials are able to predict hurricanes days in advance, allowing you ample time to prepare. Because of this, hurricane precautions are more easily executable than that of a tornado. We recommend the following tips to ensure your family’s safety:
- Keep your emergency safety kit stocked, ready, and easily accessible at all times.
- Consider the possibility of installing hurricane shutters, depending on the intensity of the storm and the amount of time before it arrives. If your home already has shutters, close them no matter how miniscule the hurricane may seem.
- Be sure to take your pets into account when deciding a hurricane preparedness plan. They require nonperishable food, water, and proper care just like humans do during an emergency situation.
- Fill up your gas tank and keep your vehicle in working condition in the event that you or your family need to evacuate.
- Bring any lightweight items indoors, such as patio furniture or anything that may not be secure in extreme conditions. A piece of furniture left astray in a storm is likely to cause damage to windows or other portions of your home if not secured properly.
- Set your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest possible setting, allowing more time before food is perished should a power surge occur.
- During the storm, stay indoors and away from windows.
Tornadoes are often announced on a moment’s notice, leaving a negligible amount of time for preparation. As a matter of fact, individuals in the path of a hurricane are often fortunate if the news arrives even 15 minutes before the tornado does. The following precautions are proven to be beneficial in the event of a tornado warning:
- Ensure your tornado safety kit items are fresh and accessible
- Designate a room in your home as a “safe room.” This is preferably a room with no windows and no risk of injury from debris or high winds. Oftentimes, this can be a closet or a secure room in the basement. Prepare each member of your family to immediately find shelter in your safe room in the event of a tornado.
- Be aware of the signs of a tornado, so you can’t miss the warnings from weather officials (dark greenish skies, loud noise, hail, rotating winds, dark and low-lying clouds)
- Keep a battery powered radio on your nightstand while you sleep in order to ensure you don’t miss weather alerts.
- If your home does not have a designated “safe room,” seek shelter in the middle of an interior room on the lowest floor of your home away from windows, doors, and exterior walls. Protect your head with anything available.
- If you live in a mobile home, evacuate immediately, as you’re likely safer outdoors.
- If caught outdoors with no time to seek shelter, lay flat on the floor in a ditch, with your hands covering your head from stray debris (and a blanket if possible).
At the end of the day, the most important precaution to take before a natural disaster is properly communicating your disaster plan to your family or other members of your household. In the event that your home is damaged during a storm, NSI Insurance Group has you covered. Rely on NSI for anything more than the small horrors of everyday life.