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In Case of a Tornado

Protecting yourself and your family : Warnings - Watches

Remember that a watch means that weather conditions are favorable for tornadoes and a warning means one has been spotted in your area.

  • Learn the warning signals used in your community. If a siren sounds, that means stay inside and take cover.

  • Consider setting up a neighborhood information program through a club, church group or community group. Hold briefings on safety procedures as tornado season approaches. Set up a system to make sure senior citizens and shut-ins are alerted if there is a tornado warning.

Seeking shelter

  • Do not try to outrun a tornado. Instead, stay calm and seek shelter.

  • At home or work, seek shelter in the central part of the building, away from windows. Basements are the best havens. If this is not an option, take cover in the bathroom, closet, interior hallway or under a heavy piece of furniture.

  • If you are in your car, abandon your vehicle and seek shelter in the nearest ditch if no other facility is available.

  • People living in mobile homes should vacate the premises and seek shelter elsewhere.

Protecting your property

  • If a tornado watch has been issued, move cars inside a garage or carport to avoid damage from hail that often accompanies tornadoes. Keep your car keys and house keys with you.

  • If time permits, move lawn furniture and yard equipment such as lawnmowers inside. Otherwise they could become damaged or act as dangerous projectiles causing serious injury or damage.

  • Make an inventory of your possessions and store it off the premises. If your belongings are damaged, this list will help facilitate the claim filing process.

Recovering from a Tornado

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.
  • ┬ĚNotify 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.