Tornados Are Not Only a Texas Phenomenon
Tornados kill. Some tornados are so powerful that there is no way to prevent the damage they cause as they roar through your neighborhood. But most homeowners can take action to minimize the effect of many twisters before they pay an unwanted visit. From reinforcing your home, assembling a disaster first aid and supply kit, or building a safe room, there’s plenty you can do to protect your family from tornados.
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Prepare for the Worst
First things first: Is your home bolted to its foundation? Are cabinets and storage closets bolted to wall studs? Securing objects that can turn into missiles in a twister should be one of your top priorities. Install bolts and latches on drawers and cabinets. If there are cracks or fissures in your foundation or support walls, these need attention before they become launch pads for parts of your house. Disaster preparedness begins with structural security from tornados.
During and After the Twister
Make sure your home is equipped with battery-powered radios and a supply of fresh batteries so you can monitor tornado watches and tornado warnings before and after the twisters come. Put together a tornado disaster kit with first-aid supplies, canned food, flashlights, warm and rainproof clothing, and three gallons of water per-person in your family.
Gimme Tornado Shelter
If you live high-risk country, you may consider building a tornado shelter inside your home. This "safe room" must be anchored to the foundation. The ceiling, walls, and doors must be impenetrable to wind-borne missiles. You can use one or more of the existing basement walls, but be sure that it is made of sufficiently steel-reinforced materials. Check with your contractor or local tornado safety office before you grab a hammer.