Having a disaster plan in place is essential for approaching spring storms, however, many Americans are not adequately prepared.
Although tornados occur throughout the year, peak activity months are March through August. The beginning of tornado season in early March marks the start of spring storm season.
How damaging can spring storms be? Each year, Allstate Insurance Company responds to weather-related catastrophes across the country where families have their homes damaged or destroyed by weather events including tornados, straight-line winds, rain and hail.
Educating your family is an essential part of creating an effective storm preparedness plan. Spring storms often develop with little or no warning. Knowing where to go and what to do before the storm can save lives.
Creating a plan
* Find the safest place in a home to protect family members from an approaching storm and share this location with them. Stay away from windows. Most tornado-related injuries and deaths result from flying debris. Whenever possible, go to a basement or storm shelter. If there is no basement or storm shelter available, find a small room in the center of the home such as a closet or bathroom and try to use heavy furniture as additional shelter.
* Teach family members the difference between weather watches and warnings and obey official warnings and advice regarding severe weather. A watch is used by the National Weather Service to alert the possibility of severe weather such as severe, damaging thunderstorms or tornados. A warning is issued when the severe weather is actually coming. Once a warning has been issued, residents should pay close attention to weather developments and take shelter until danger has passed.
* Create an accurate, up-to-date home inventory before a storm strikes. Before severe weather damages or destroys a home, walk through each room of the house and create a list of everything owned.
If possible, include video and pictures of each room with your inventory. Store the home inventory outside of the home, for example, in a bank safety deposit box.
* Designate a family meeting spot in case a disaster strikes when family members are away from home. Designate two meeting spots, one right outside the home in case of a sudden emergency such as a fire, and one outside the neighborhood in case a disaster strikes when family members are away from home. Make sure everyone knows essential addresses and phone numbers.
* Create a disaster supply kit for your family. A disaster supply kit, stored in the identified storm safe area of the house, should include a first aid kit, water, flashlights, batter-operated radio and extra batteries.
Preparing for a disaster should also include being financially prepared. Before a spring storm hits, homeowners should review their insurance coverage with their agent to make sure they are adequately insured.