Essential Tornado Safety Tips for Homeowners

Hurricanes in Puerto Rico, wildfires in California, catastrophic flooding in South Carolina. America has seen its fair share of extreme weather in recent years. More than ever before, it’s become essential for families to become safety savvy, so they can deal with these disaster-level weather scenarios head on.

In a previous post, we offered suggestions as to how you might go about protecting your home from a wildfire. Today, we’re shifting our focus to another pressing weather concern: tornadoes. Whether it’s Joplin, Missouri or Moore, Oklahoma, the astonishing force of today’s tornadoes has been made abundantly clear. Everyone is at risk, so follow these tornado safety tips to protect your family and yourself.

Be prepared and know the tornado safety tips

Short of building underground, there’s no surefire way to tornado-proof your home. There are, however, some basic changes you can implement to lessen the impact of high winds on you and your property, which we’ve outlined below.

  1. Tend to your yard regularly, pruning loose tree limbs and keeping it as clear as possible—in a high wind scenario, anything has the potential to become airborne, striking you or your home
  2. Install a resilient garage door and strong shutters on your windows; these will diminish the likelihood of violent winds entering your house
  3. Make sure you have plenty of bottled water, flashlights, radios, and other essentials at hand in the event of a major emergency
  4. Rehearse a storm scenario with your loved ones—lay out, in detail, what you will do and where you will go in your home should a tornado strike

Know the warning signs

Although they’re most common in the Plains States of the Midwest, tornadoes can still strike anywhere, at any time. If you notice any of the following warning signs, consider seeking shelter immediately—a twister might be on its way.

  • A greenish tint to the sky
  • Clouds of debris
  • An eerie, unnatural silence following extreme winds
  • Large hail
  • Rotating “wall clouds” lowering toward the earth
  • A loud roaring sound, similar to that of a freight train

Take refuge when necessary

The safest place to be during a tornado will always be your basement or storm cellar. Underground, swirling debris, shattered glass, and other projectiles are less likely to harm you—what’s more, this area of your home tends to be safe from damage by high winds, as it is buttressed on all sides by the solid earth.

If you don’t have access to a basement or storm cellar, we recommend taking the following precautions during a storm scenario.

  • Retreat to the ground floor of your home
  • Barricade yourself in a windowless interior room, such as a closet
  • Insulate yourself with pillows, blankets, heavy coats, or any other materials that will shield you from flying debris

As we said earlier, these steps won't tornado-proof your home, but they will make you and your family safer during a storm. Continue researching to develop a disaster plan with your family--and above all, stay safe!