What to do? Before, During and After a Tornado

Before a tornado:

  • Sometimes tornadoes do not give weather readers much time to get people prepared to take cover. Here are a few things to do in preparation, whether or not you live in a tornado-prone are:
  • Always be aware of the safer places you can go to in your home before a tornado visits. If there is no basement in your home, consider finding a safe place close enough to your home where you can quickly take shelter.  Make sure there are signs on the walls showing where the closest safe area is.
  • If there is enough time, grab a few first aid items and stock up on water and some emergency supplies that can take you a few days if things get very bad.
  • Try to keep in touch with your local weather station and look out for dark clouds and thunderstorms.
  • Be aware of the weather in your town and the suggested actions you can do to keep safe.

During a tornado:

  • During an approaching tornado, quickly move to your basement or designated area if you are in a public place. These days, schools, hospitals and many business building have safer places where people can take shelter.
  • If you are driving, or in a vehicle, make your way to the closest sturdy building and take cover, if that is not available, stay in your car, wear your seat belt and cover your head with your arms. Never try to look into the window, or get out, as there may be flying debris that can smash your windows.  Flying objects cause most of the injuries and deaths during tornadoes.

After a tornado:

  • Lots of injuries occur after tornadoes too. Be careful when getting out of your shelter as damaged objects and structures may fall.
  • Wear safety garments when walking and working through debris, as there could be broken glasses, exposed nails and other dangerous chemicals.
  • Do not touch power lines and objects in water puddles as there may be live electrical wires around.
  • If you have to clean up your home, make sure that you are wearing safety gear and are well aware of the dangers.
  • Keep records, notes, photos of broken items, in case your insurance company needs them.

Protecting yourself and your family

  • Keep calm. Stay in your shelter until after the storm is over.
  • Check people around you for injuries. Begin first aid or seek help if necessary.
  • When you go outside, watch out for downed power lines.

Protecting your property

  • Make temporary repairs to prevent further loss from rain, wind or looting. These costs are reimbursable under most policies so keep the receipts.
  • Keep receipts for additional living expenses such as temporary housing. These costs are reimbursable under most policies so keep the receipts.
  • Make a detailed list of all damaged or destroyed personal property. Don’t throw out damaged property until you have met with an adjuster.
  • Check utility lines and appliances for damage. If you smell gas, open the windows and turn off the main valve. Don’t turn on lights or appliances until the gas has dissipated. If electric wires are shorting out, turn off the power.
  • Don’t be rushed into signing repair contracts. Deal with reputable contractors. If you’re unsure about a contractor’s credentials, contact your claims adjuster, Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce for referrals. Make sure the contractor you hire is experienced in repair work – not just new construction. Be sure of payment terms and consult your agent or adjuster before you sign any contracts.
  • Notify your insurance agent or company representative as soon as possible. If you have vacated the premises, make sure your representative knows where to contact you.

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