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Tornado Preparedness: Your Essential Guide

Tornado across farm fields

For many areas in the United States, tornado season can bring unpredictable and destructive weather patterns, posing a risk to both lives and property. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), about 1,200 tornadoes hit the U.S. each year, causing an average of 70 fatalities and over a billion dollars in property damage.

While tornadoes can happen any time of year, the peak season is from spring to early summer, with increased tornado activity in the Central Plains and southeastern U.S. It's important to be prepared and take proactive measures to protect yourself, your loved ones and your valuables during tornado season.

The Importance of Tornado Preparedness

Tornadoes can occur with little to no warning. Knowing what to do in a tornado is crucial for mitigating potential losses and ensuring the safety and security of your loved ones and possessions while minimizing stress and chaos. A well-prepared plan allows you to anticipate the risks and take proactive measures to protect yourself and your property. By identifying safe spaces, securing important documents and belongings and creating a tornado plan, you can have confidence amidst the uncertainty of severe weather.

Risks for Documents and Valuables During a Tornado

During tornadoes, documents and valuables face significant risks due to the destructive forces unleashed upon homes and properties. The sheer power of tornadoes can cause extensive damage, including structural collapse and debris scattering, which could scatter your essential documents like birth certificates, passports and property deeds, as well as your other valuables.

These items are often stored in areas of the home that are susceptible to damage, such as attics or ground-level rooms. Your roof or pipes could be damaged by the force of the storm, resulting in water damage and further compromising the integrity of your documents and valuables. Consequently, safeguarding these items through proper storage is essential to mitigate the potential loss during tornadoes and other natural disasters.

Creating a Tornado Preparedness Plan

Creating a comprehensive tornado preparedness plan involves critical steps to ensure the safety of yourself, your loved ones and your property. Start by identifying safe areas within your home where you can seek shelter during a tornado. These areas typically include basements, storm shelters or interior rooms on the lowest level of your home away from windows. Assembling an emergency kit is also crucial, including essentials such as non-perishable food, water, first aid supplies, flashlights, batteries and a weather radio. Additionally, establishing communication and shelter plans with family members ensures everyone knows what to do in the event of a tornado warning, including where to meet and how to stay informed about changing conditions.

Safeguarding essential documents and valuables is another vital aspect of tornado preparedness. Although tornadoes themselves may not bring rain or fires, the aftermath can bring flooding and fire damage. Sentry Safe fireproof and waterproof safes provide an added layer of protection for irreplaceable items. These safes also come with bolt-down kits to prevent them from being lifted or carried away by strong winds. If you’re in need of a more portable option, a fire-resistant document bag offers basic protection to keep all your valuables in one place, saving crucial time in emergency situations. Be sure to check for safes with UL and/or ETL ratings appropriate for your security and protection needs.

While padlocks may seem inconsequential against the force of nature, they can help to safeguard valuable possessions or sensitive areas within damaged structures. Whether it's securing a storage room containing important documents or locking up emergency supplies to prevent theft, a Master Lock padlock can serve as a small but powerful tool in maintaining a sense of security and order amidst the aftermath of a storm.

You can also store your important items in a secure off-site location, like a bank safe deposit box or cloud storage to have additional peace of mind in case of a catastrophic event at home. Another option is to create digital backups of important documents to ensure they can be accessed even if the originals are damaged or lost.

Resources for Tornado Preparedness

There are many tools and resources readily available to help you prepare for tornado season:

In addition to these resources, many apps can help keep you safe during a tornado, including one that can wake you up with a loud siren in case a tornado occurs while you’re sleeping.

As tornado season approaches, it's essential to be prepared and to have a comprehensive tornado preparedness plan. From identifying safe areas within your home to safeguarding essential documents and valuables, every step taken towards readiness counts.

We never found any of the furniture that was in that room, but this safe was found in my mother’s yard.
Janet M.

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