Prepare for Hurricane and Tornado Seasons
Don’t get caught off-guard by severe weather. Ready your family and home for a storm.
A hurricane can pack winds of over 160 mph and can drop more than 2.4 trillion gallons of rain a day. Additionally, on average, more than 1,000 tornadoes occur in the U.S. each year. Whether you live along the East Coast or in Tornado Alley, planning for hurricanes and tornadoes can help protect you, your loved ones, and your valuables. Learn more about how to ready your family and your home for these severe weather events.
- Make a communications plan. Identify an out-of-state contact for family members to call if you become separated. Make sure everyone memorizes the phone number.
- Get advance warning. Download a weather app or sign up for text alerts from your local weather service. This ensures that you get severe-weather warnings if you’re without a TV or radio.
- Preserve valuables. To protect your important documents and valuable items from damage, store them in a fireproof, waterproof safe.
- Document your belongings. Keep an up-to-date inventory of your household belongings. Should disaster strike, this record makes it easier to file an insurance claim.
Safety Tips for Hurricanes
- Plan an evacuation route. Select a safe route for your family should you need to evacuate your area. Many communities have designated routes and shelters.
- Know your area. Learn your property’s elevation level. This can help you evaluate whether your home is within range of a storm surge or tidal flooding. You also should identify levees or dams in your area that could pose a threat, if breached.
- Secure your home. Close storm shutters, or board up windows with 5/8-inch marine plywood. Bring inside anything the wind could pick up and propel. Unclog rain gutters, and trim shrubs and trees.
- Prepare for flooding. So you’re prepared if you need to evacuate quickly, walk everyone in your household through the steps for turning off your home’s gas and power.
- Safety Tips for Tornadoes
- Create a plan. Identify a secure place to meet if a tornado warning is issued. Also note the safest locations to seek shelter in case someone cannot reach the designated area.
- Talk with your children. Discuss what a tornado is, the difference between warnings and watches; which county your family lives in, so members know when weather warnings apply to them; and the best places to take shelter.
- Practice. Run through your emergency plan occasionally. Remind family members how to administer first aid and use a fire extinguisher. Show them how to turn off water, gas and electricity, which should be done after a tornado strikes. Be sure to discuss these tornado safety tips as well.
- Remove dangerous debris. Throughout tornado season, remove dead limbs from trees and pick up downed branches. If tornadoes are expected, bring in outdoor furniture, toys, grills, trash cans, and other objects that high winds could propel.
Create an Emergency Kit
An emergency kit is essential for every household. Include these items:
- Weather radio
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- A list of emergency contacts
- Activities for children
- Battery-powered cell phone charger