About 1,000 tornadoes occur in the US every year, and March marks the start of tornado season. Are you ready for the hail and high winds that spring and summer can bring? While there’s no way to mitigate the damage of an extremely violent storm, most tornadoes are mild to moderate in severity. It’s these storms that you can prepare for now. Simply follow these tips to reduce the risk of tornado damage to your home.
Assess Your Risk
Do you live in an area prone to tornadoes? “Tornado Alley” runs along the spine of the US, but anywhere east of the Continental Divide is at risk. Even in non-tornado-prone regions, the measures that protect against tornado damage are also useful against high winds and thunderstorms, which can occur anywhere.
Fortify Your Home
Wind-resistant construction can protect your family and minimize the risk of structural damage in a tornado. Here are some ideas:
- Retrofit the roof: Add roof braces, straps, fasteners, ties, coverings and anchors where appropriate. When it’s time to replace the roof, consider wind-resistant construction methods and materials.
- Make windows and doors more wind-resistant: To prevent broken window panes, replace your windows with impact-resistant glass or install storm shutters. To keep exterior doors in place, install heavy-duty hinges and security locks, reinforce the frame, and make sure the door stop is in good
- Build a safe room: If you live in a tornado-prone county, and your home lacks a basement or cellar, look into having a safe room built. This is a hardened structure made of reinforced concrete following the guidelines established by FEMA. Safe rooms are designed to provide near-absolute protection during tornadoes and hurricanes.
- Protect the roof and siding: Inspect and repair damaged siding, brickwork, soffits and fascia, shingles, and chimneys that could give way in a big storm. Trim back branches or remove entire trees that hang over your roof or nearby power lines.
Heed Tornado Watches and Warnings
A tornado watch signifies a high probability of tornadoes. A tornado warning means a twister has been spotted in your area or is moving toward your county, indicating that you’re in immediate danger.
When either a tornado watch or warning is issued, start taking steps to protect your home and family:
- Close all exterior doors and windows to keep flying debris out and prevent an updraft from ripping the roof off your house.
- Hunker down in a protective area. If you have a basement, storm cellar or safe room, go there. Otherwise, retreat to a small interior room on the first floor.
Despite your best efforts, it’s still possible for tornadoes to damage your property. Reach out to DKI Services for assistance. We have over 500 locations in the US to provide tornado recovery in your time of need. To request services from our 24/7 emergency response team, please contact us today.