Storm Damagelightening in the sky

Tornadoes can cause catastrophic damage for homeowners in the United States. Every year, more than 1,200 tornadoes touch down and cause significant damage to property ($24,000 on average per affected homeowner). And because insurance may not cover everything, unprepared homeowners may experience significant financial costs – or worse, harm to their family.

To prepare for tornado season, preparation is essential to stay safe and keep your property intact as much as possible. In this article, we’ll take a look at what you can do to be prepared for tornado season

Understanding the Warning Signs of a Tornado

One of the most important things to know about tornadoes is the warning signs before they occur.

First, the terminology used in news reports can shed light on the probability of tornadoes in your area. According to the American Red Cross, the following terms are used:

  • Tornado watch: tornadoes are possible in your area
  • Tornado warning: confirmation that a tornado has been seen or detected in or close to your proximity

Of course, even hearing about news reports may be too late. Instead, looking for reports can be too late. Tornadoes can form without warning; however, there are signs and indicators of danger to observe, including:

  • Roaring noises
  • Hail
  • Large debris moving from high winds
  • Dark skies (especially those tinted green)
  • Power outages
  • A long, rotating cloud (known as a funnel)

While these may be common signs of heavy weather in your area, they are also signs of an imminent tornado. If you observe these signs AND a tornado watch/warning has been issued in your area, it is important to find shelter immediately!

Establish a Shelter

Part of tornado preparedness is to create shelter zones at your home and at work. Be sure to have a primary location to run to if a tornado should appear, but also establish a secondary location if the first isn’t available due to distance or other constraints.

Once you designate a safe space to wait out a tornado, it’s important to create an emergency kit to keep in the shelter. Because tornadoes may devastate local services and utilities for some time, you will want to have essentials for survival. Some of the best items to keep in the shelter include:

  • Canned food
  • Bottled water
  • Essential medications
  • Warm blankets
  • Umbrellas
  • Radios
  • Batteries
  • Flashlights
  • A change of clothes

If you’re caught without being near these shelters, look for a secure place underground (such as a basement or cellar). If an underground option isn’t available, choose a small room without windows (closets are ideal) on the lowest level of the structure. While it may not be the most ideal location, it can save your life in a pinch.

Be Prepared

Teaching tornado preparedness for your family should be a primary concern for those who live in tornado zones around the United States. You will not always have the opportunity to be around your family or loved ones when a tornado touches down, so be sure that they have established escape routes and alternate spots to stay safe.

There are also many things you can do before a tornado touches down that can prevent costly home damages. In fact, taking the time to shore up your home can prevent the expensive need for property damage restoration – though, some damages may be inevitable due to the sheer force of a tornado’s path of destruction.

Here are some things that homeowners can do to stay prepared for a tornado:

  • Strengthen your garage door and any other entranceways to your home with secure locks, including door barricades, heavy latches, and deadbolts.
  • Adequately seal your roof and replace any loose shingles
  • Secure your windows
  • Park your vehicle inside your garage or other storage space
  • Unplug electronics to avoid powerful surges from lightning
  • Place fire extinguishers throughout your home in case of a fire breaking out due to electrical shorts or lightning

After the Tornado Touches Down: ServiceMaster Advantage for Property Damage Restoration

Preparedness is a significant step to minimizing damage from tornadoes. However, not every instance of damage to your property can be prevented – only minimized.

ServiceMaster Advantage is here for all of your property damage restoration needs in the wake of tornado damage. Our expert restoration technicians are here to help you from crisis to resolution, 24/7/365. Contact us to discuss your property damage restoration needs to get back to normal today!