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State Farm Storms – Tornado Preparedness

This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed herein are my own.

State Farm Storms – Tornado Preparedness


I grew up in rural Wisconsin. My family has been lucky enough to never go through the experience of a tornado, but I spent my fair share of time in the basement waiting out tornado warnings. As soon as we heard that siren, we would head to our basement, grab some cushions and blankets (the basement floor was concrete), bring the radio and maybe a few flashlights. My siblings and I were never frightened and passed the time by playing.

After I moved to Colorado, there was a serious tornado warning near downtown, which is almost unheard of. I thought I had left the tornado area! But there are still far less tornadoes in Colorado than in Wisconsin. Now that I think about it, a tornado at my childhood home could have done a lot of damage. We had so many old, large trees on our property and an old barn. A tornado through there would have created a lot of flying debris. We were quite fortunate to have a basement to go to.

Tornado EF Scale

Tornado and high winds are some of the most destructive forces of nature. While tornadoes are frequent in the Great Plains, South, and Midwest, there is no state in the country that isn’t at risk. As the nation’s largest property insurer, State Farm wants to make sure you and your family are prepared for the destructive and potentially deadly force of a tornado.

Here are some very important tips to help you prepare for a tornado:

Preparing Your Home for a Tornado

  • Strengthen your garage. A garage door can be especially vulnerable during high winds so a reinforced, windowless door with vertical bracing is your best option.
  • Secure your windows. If you’ve heard you should open windows during a tornado to equalize pressure, you’ve heard wrong! Instead, investigate systems that clip plywood to your windows – no nailing necessary.
  • Maintain trees and shrubbery in your yard. Remove weak branches and eliminate trees that could fall on your home during a storm. Falling trees and blowing debris in storms often cause fatalities and severe structural damage.
  • Store important documents such as birth certificates, wills, and certificates of ownership in a fire- and water-proof safe in a secure location away from your residence. In the event your home is damaged or destroyed, you will still be able to access vital documents.
  • Create and maintain a home inventory to make sure you have the right insurance protection, and in the event of a loss, simplify the claims process.

Preparing Your Family for a Tornado

  • Every member from the family should be familiar with your local severe weather warning system and know what to do when a tornado “watch” or “warning” is issued
  • Create and practice a plan of action for your family and choose a place for your family to meet if you get separated
  • Consider installing a safe room. If you live in an area prone to tornadoes, this might be the best move you can make. It won’t protect your home but will protect you and your family – and that’s what’s truly irreplaceable.
  • If you do not have a safe room or a tornado shelter, you should identify what might be the safest area of your home or business during tornadoes. This is usually the basement or a small interior room without windows.

During a Tornado (Inside a Shelter)

  • Head to the center of your home or basement, away from windows and preferably under something sturdy like a workbench or staircase or in a bathtub with a mattress over top of you.
  • Get to the safest place possible, away from glass that can break and injure or kill you.
  • Closing interior doors will also help to compartmentalize the structure and provide more barriers between you and the storm.
  • Don’t try to ride out a tornado in a manufactured home. Even manufactured homes with tie-downs overturn in these storms because they have light frames and offer winds a large surface area to push against.

During a Tornado (Outside with No Shelter)

  • Never try to outrun a tornado. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
  • If you can safely get lower than the level of the roadway, such as in a ditch, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.
  • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.

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