Is your family prepared if a tornado hits? Here’s what to do to prepare

Different parts of the country experience different weather related turbulence. Tornados and cyclones are most common in the central United States, but they can occur almost anywhere.

If you live in a location where tornados are common, or if you just like to be prepared for the unexpected, here are five steps that you can take to help ensure the safety and well being of your family should a tornado hit.

1.    Stay informed

Most severe weather is seasonal. Find out when tornado occurrences are most likely to take place in the area where you live and follow weather reports during those times.

Today’s technology allows some predictions to be made a few days in advance, and much more accurate predictions to be made within a few hours. Stay alert and stay informed so that you can be ready if a tornado is likely to occur.

2.     Find a shelter location

Find a safe place and designate it as your shelter location. The best option is a storm shelter, whether it be an above ground storm shelter or below ground in a shelter or a basement. However, if that is not an option, other safe places include stairwells, or interior bathrooms or closets. If you are not in a storm shelter, you will need to have something to shield yourself from flying debris, such a heavy blankets or even a mattress.

3.    Consider installing a storm shelter

Storm shelters are without a doubt the safest place to be during a tornado. With several different types available, there is sure to be a storm shelter to fit every home.

One of the most versitile options is an above ground storm shelter. Often modular in design, above ground storm shelters can be easily installed inside an existing building such as your home or garage without the need to knock out walls or tear down doors, as well as outdoors.

There are also several different size options available so that even a large family can have a safe place to go with easy access.

4.    Create a plan and make sure that everyone knows it

Practice gathering your family and taking shelter so that you can recognize any areas of concern before the situation actually occurs and so that the plan and the shelter location can become familiar to small children who may be afraid. 

If you have small children, elderly adults or pets in your home, assign them a partner to ensure that they make it safely to the shelter location. 

Inform your friends and family of where you plan to shelter so that if your home is destroyed, you can be found quickly.

5.    Prepare an emergency kit

Pre-pack an emergency kit and keep it in your shelter location. Kits should include non-perishable food items that don’t require heat or power to prepare, water, blankets, a change of clothes and shoes, flashlights, a weather radio, batteries, first aid and any essential medications, and sanitation and hygiene products.

If you have children, entertainment items, such as toys and board games, are also a great item to include in your emergency kits. And don’t forget about your pets. Include pet food, toys, blankets and any medications that they may need in your emergency kits as well.

Pack all these items into a large bag or tote and store it in your shelter location.

Whether you live in tornado alley or not, it is never a bad idea to be prepared for severe weather. These five steps will have you prepared should a tornado occur.

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