You never know when bad weather will strike and unfortunately, weather predictions aren’t always accurate so it’s important to know what to do in the event of a natural disaster. According to U.S. Tornadoes.com, the U.S. sees an average of 1,224 tornado touchdowns each year. In fact, the site reports that in 2017 alone there have been roughly 360-400 tornadoes! Given the recent cluster of tornadoes zipping and ripping through the country this storm season, many of them peaking April through June, knowing what to do after it hits is crucial to minimize any chaos.
Follow these steps suggested by the Center for Disease Control:
Take Precautions Before the Tornado
- Much like keeping your doctor or insurance company on speed dial, it’s just as important to have the contact information for emergency services already stored in your mobile phone. The American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, National Weather Service or your local disaster recovery center are a few organizations to think about keeping in your contacts.
- If possible, keep your phone charged and with you. If there is no power and the power lines are out, at least you have the information stored in there for when you can access it.
Attend to Injuries & Yourself
- Your family’s health and safety are number one priority. Check for injuries, but do not move someone who is seriously hurt unless they’re in danger. Also, be sure to look after yourself and get plenty of sleep, clean water and food! More importantly, if you or your family is having trouble coping, seek professional help and don’t be afraid to reach out to friends or other family members for help.
Inspecting the Damage
- If your home was severely damaged and you are asked to leave, wait until the authorities tell you it is safe for you to re-enter. Beware of structural, electrical or gas-leak hazards. Before you go inside, make sure the structure is not falling or un-sturdy. Use a flashlight, not a candle or lighter, to help you see. Look out for broken glass and nails. Shut off any electrical power, natural gas and propane tanks. If you smell anything unusual, turn off the gas valves and leave immediately. Notify the gas company, fire and police departments. Your local city or county building inspectors will have information on safety codes and standards. Alternatively, don’t touch your electricity until the electrician gives the ok. Do not touch downed power lines or objects touching them. Instead report them to the police or utility company. Document anything that was damaged or destroyed with your smartphone or a camera.
- Wear comfortable clothes that protect your feet and hands. If there are any spilled medicines, drugs or flammable liquids, clean those up or tell the authorities if they’re nearby. Don’t operate any gas or electric powered tools without knowing the safety procedures and instructions.
- Prepare your kids before a storm hits. Educate them about your own experiences in storms, reassure them and involve them in safe clean-up activities. Talk to them about their fear or any feelings of anxiety. However, you should seek professional help if they continue to be anxious weeks or months after the tornado.
Don’t Mess with Mother Nature
If you’re wondering if you should leave your home to try and beat or avoid the tornado’s path of destruction, when in doubt, just stay home! Watch our video on “How to Know When to Avoid the Road” for more information below!
To learn about how the federal government can help you after a disaster, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s website.
For other useful emergency tips on Direct Connect click the links below! Visit www.directauto.com for more information on how Direct Auto Insurance can help you in auto-related emergencies.