As March roars its way towards spring and the promise of warmer, sunny days, it’s important to take a moment to ensure your family knows what to do when the weather unexpectedly turns dangerous and unpredictable. Those who experienced the recent tornadoes in Alabama had less than ten minutes’ warning to take shelter when the tornadoes struck. Here in the Midwest, March is always a month of unpredictable weather, from gentle showers to snow to strong storms and high winds that can cause storm damage. We truly need to be prepared for anything. Take the time to practice tornado safety with a home tornado drill.
Here’s a list of things your family should do during and after a tornado or strong storm to keep everyone safe.
When a tornado or strong storm is approaching and during the storm:
- Heed the warnings. When tornado sirens sound or the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning, don’t hesitate. Take shelter immediately.
- Get off the road. If you’re driving when a strong storm is approaching, get home or to the nearest sturdy building as soon as you can, and get inside. If that’s not possible, get out of your car and as far away from it as possible. Lie face down in a ditch and cover your head. Never park under an underpass.
- Cover up. If you’re home, put your shoes on. (And if you happen to have a bike or other helmet in the house, put it on as well.) Make sure your basement or storm shelter is equipped with pillows and blankets for warmth and protection.
- Take only what matters. Grab your phone, keys, wallet, family members and pets, and head to your pre-arranged storm shelter. Don’t try to take any other personal items– personal possessions can be restored or replaced.
After the tornado or strong storm has passed:
- Ensure the coast is clear. Strong storms and tornadoes often move in clusters. Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, or check your phone to be sure there aren’t more storms on the heels of the first one.
- Inspect the storm damage. Keep children inside while you take a look around the perimeter of your property. If you see that your house has experienced structural damage, get all family members and pets away from the house and to a safe place immediately, and call a board-up service.
- Look for downed power lines. If you see any downed power lines, report them immediately to the power company and warn all family members to stay away. If you’re experiencing a power outage in your home, use flashlights to help you find your way. Candles should be avoided, as they could inadvertently cause fire damage if a gas leak has also been caused by the storm.
- Check on neighbors and family members. Let everyone in your circle know you’re okay (and make sure they are too). See if elderly neighbors or anyone who lives alone near you needs help.
- Attend to any spilled hazardous materials. If hazardous or flammable liquids, (like bleach or gasoline) or medications have been spilled or scattered, clean them up immediately if possible.
- Check for water damage. If you have water damage or a flooded basement, look for the source of the water. It may be a burst pipe or water entering your home as a result of storm damage. Stop the flow of water if you can, and call a property restoration service immediately to come and assess the damage. Water damage could lead to mold growth in your home if not properly mitigated.
Here in the Midwest, tornado season is upon us. Having a family emergency preparedness plan in place and ensuring that everyone knows what to do before, during and after a tornado or strong storm will give you peace of mind.
Should you experience storm damage and need the services of a property restoration company,
the trusted restoration experts at Hays + Sons are just a phone call away, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. With offices throughout the Midwest in Fort Wayne, Crown Point, Indianapolis, Columbus, Muncie and Lafayette as well as Cincinnati, Ohio, there’s a Hays + Sons near you.