Tornado Preparedness in the United States

How to Prepare for a Potential Tornado

No one wants to think about what happens if a tornado hits their home. However, the threat of tornadoes is very real for countless homeowners throughout the United States. These storms are inevitable, so the best thing you can do is prepare yourself. Stockpiling supplies is a good start, but you should also have the knowledge of what to do after such a storm. DKI can help. We’re storm damage experts serving communities across the nation, and we hope to give you the tools and know-how you need to protect your family and livelihood. Browse our tips below on how to prepare for a tornado, and be sure to save our phone number should you ever need our emergency damage response team: 844-354-2255.

 Know the Signs of a Tornado

By spotting the signs of a tornado early, you’ll have more time to prepare and get your family to safety. If you’ve lived in a tornado hot spot for a while, you are probably aware of all of the traditional warning signs of a tornado. If you’re new to the region or need a refresher, remember these telltale signs:

  • A funnel cloud that reached the ground (not always visible)
  • A roaring sound, almost like a train
  • Clouds of debris
  • Dark green skies
  • Hail

Understand the Categorization System

Most American news stations use the Fujita Scale or Enhanced Fujita Scale to communicate the severity of a tornado. But, what do these rankings mean? The Fujita Scale categorizes storms as F0, F1, F2, F3, F4, or F5. An F0 storm typically causes the least damage and may only result in minor problems, such as small tree branches in the road. On the other hand, an F5 tornado is the most dangerous. These powerful storms have the potential to lift buildings off their foundations.

Are You Located in Tornado Alley?

Tornadoes can occur in most regions of the United States, but some states are more vulnerable to these storms than others. These states frequently hit by tornadoes are known as “Tornado Alley,” which includes parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. Dangerous storms are most common in Tornado Alley during the height of tornado season, between March and May. States outside of Tornado Alley that also commonly experience tornadoes include:

  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Missouri
  • Alabama
  • Iowa
  • Colorado

Make a Plan Beforehand

Don’t wait until a storm strikes to decide what to do. Before the news reports a tornado watch, you should have a plan of action. Pick an area in your home where you’ll shelter in the event of a storm. This area should be on the ground floor or basement and not have any windows. If possible, choose a space that’s close to the center of your home. Make sure this shelter area is communicated to everyone in your household.

Once your evacuation plan or shelter area is secure, gather essential documents and create a list of important contact information—write down phone numbers for family members and out-of-town emergency contacts, your child’s school/daycare, your home insurance and policy number, and your electric/gas company. Keep these numbers and documents in your 72-hour kit.

Have an Easy-to-Access Emergency Kit

An emergency kit is vital to tornado preparedness. Make sure you have enough supplies to accommodate all members of your household. We recommend including the following in your kit:

  • Three days’ worth of water and nonperishable food
  • First aid supplies (bandages, salve, ibuprofen, etc.)
  • Communication devices
  • Prescription medications
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Clothes and blankets
  • Toiletries and hygiene products

Keep Your Family Safe During a Tornado

When a tornado warning is issued, it’s time to put your plan into action. As soon as possible, head to your predetermined shelter area. Stay away from windows and doors and huddle under a heavy table if you can. It’s also a good idea to have some helmets close by or another object that can protect your head.

If you find yourself outside when a tornado hits, seek shelter immediately. Unfortunately, those driving on the interstates might not be able to get to a building in time. Should you be in this situation, get as low to the ground as you can. Finding a ditch to lie in will likely be your safest option. Get away from trees, cars and any objects that could be swept away by the strong winds. Try to find something secure to hold on to, and don’t move until the tornado passes.

Navigate the Aftermath

Tornadoes can leave thousands of dollars’ worth of property damage in their wake, in addition to the fear and emotional trauma they can cause. Learn what to do after a storm now, so you’re prepared before the warning goes out.

  • Stay Safe: Don’t leave your shelter until you’re 100% sure it’s safe outside. When it is, watch your step and be aware of your surroundings. Tornadoes can carry all kinds of debris, and you’ll need to be on the lookout for broken glass, sewage leaks and even gas leaks. Many of these issues require the help of a professional, and you should never put yourself in a dangerous position.
  • Leave it to the Professionals: Survey your surroundings. Do you see anyone else who needs help? If so, contact emergency personnel right away. Never put yourself in danger trying to search for people.
  • Stay in Touch: If you can, contact friends and family members. It may ease your anxiety to know they’re safe, and they’ll want to know you’re okay too.
  • Take Photos: When it’s safe, take photos of the property damage around your home or place of business. These will be instrumental for submitting insurance claims. Be sure to include “before photos” of the property as well.
  • Stay Updated: Use an emergency radio to stay updated on the weather conditions. You want to stay in the know as much as possible.

How DKI Can Restore Your Property

Tornados and other natural disasters can leave your livelihood in ruins. Once you and your family are safe, get in touch with DKI. Our catastrophe response team can be onsite within two hours of your emergency call to assess the damage. We’ll recommend a course of action for restoring your property, along with a comprehensive estimate of the cost. Our licensed service providers will help you every step of the way, from the initial cleanup through restoration. We understand you may be dealing with stress, fear, and even perhaps physical pain, so we make it our responsibility to take some of the burden off your shoulders.

Ask The Experts at DKI

Do you have questions about how you can be better prepared for a tornado? Our team helps home and business owners across the nation feel secure in their storm preparedness plan, and we’d be glad to help you as well. In the event of a natural disaster, you can always count on us to provide compassionate service and a reliable cost estimate. Contact us today to learn more.