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How to Prepare for a Tornado

by Steve Scearcy

Tornadoes struck parts of the Midwest this past weekend killing six people and leaving hundreds with damaged or destroyed homes.  But wait, tornadoes happen in the spring not in the winter!  Tornadoes in the middle of November are but a reminder that bad things can happen at any time. Catastrophe does not operate on a schedule.  With that being said, everyone should do a little preparation before disaster strikes. 

            Whether you live in tornado alley, or on a coastal area that is subject to hurricanes or a place where earthquakes or wildfires could strike at any minute you need to be ready. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling a supply kit and developing a family emergency plan, are the same for all types of calamities. However each emergency is unique and knowing the actions to take for each threat will impact the specific decisions and preparations you make. Learning about the specific threats in your area will make you better prepared for what we hope will never happen. Here is a list of 4 things to do to prepare for the unthinkable.

1

Stock up on emergency supplies: In most situations you will need to have a supply of bottled water, non-perishable food, prescription and non prescription medication, extra clothing for all family members, flashlights and batteries.  A battery powered or crank powered radio will help you understand your situation. A credit card and some cash should also be included in these supplies.

2

Have an emergency family plan.  You may or may not have advanced warning of an upcoming disaster. That’s why it is important to have a family plan. In some situations certain parts of a house can service as protection. Make sure every family member knows when and where to take shelter in your home.  They should also know where to go if a house will not offer protection.  And, there should be a plan of communication should the family be separated. What phone numbers to call and where to leave messages.

 

3

Have emergency names and numbers on-hand.  Have a list of important names and numbers.  Here is a partial list: police, sheriff, highway patrol, fire department, ambulance, your insurance agent, your insurance companies claim number, and your various relatives.   It is advisable to have this list in several locations.

 

4

Manage your resources. One of your most important resources after a calamity will be your insurance company.  Depending on your coverage, an insurance company can move quickly to protect your family and your property. The positive news for the people affected last weekend is that the typical homeowner’s insurance covers damage from tornadoes. Other natural disasters, like floods and earthquakes, are often not covered under standard policies.  Regardless of the disaster, it is believed that over half of the homes in America are undervalued for insurance purposes. Meaning that if they were destroyed the insurance settlement would not be sufficient to pay for rebuilding. So it is important to understand your coverage and get the right coverage before a natural disaster. 

 

Life can change quickly.  Just days ago the families affected by last weekend’s storms were debating which of Grandma’s old recipes to cook on Thanksgiving Day.  All that changed in seconds. Today, they face challenges they never thought they would have to face.  Don’t wait for disaster to strike. Make plans today and hope you never have to use them. 

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