The news and images from Joplin, Missouri are just devastating. The destruction a tornado can do in an amount of seconds can be difficult to understand. Tornadoes are one of nature’s most powerful and destructive forces; a F5, the strongest and most violent of tornadoes, can level almost any house and its occupants. Thankfully, F5 tornadoes are rare. Most are weaker and can be survived. And now is the time to prepare for them if you haven’t already. Tornadoes are most common from late winter through mid-summer.
Here’s what to do before and during a tornado:
- Know where you can take shelter in the event of the storm. Practice a family tornado drill once a year.
- Prepare by gathering emergency supplies, including non-perishable food, water, medication, batteries and flashlights. Keep the emergency kit packed and easily accessible.
- Know the signs of a tornado: persistent winds, swirling dust or debris under a cloud base, loud continuous roar or rumble.
- Know the difference and help your children understand the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning.
- Tornado Watch: Current weather conditions could create a tornado, so be on the lookout.
- Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted in the area. Seek shelter immediately and listen to the radio for further updates. A tornado warning is much more serious than a tornado watch.
- If a tornado is likely or known, take shelter indoors, preferably in a basement or interior first-floor room or hallway.
- Avoid windows and seek additional protection under large furniture or mattresses. This will protect you from flying debris.
- After a tornado has struck, stay out of heavily damaged homes or buildings. Keep clear of downed power lines, broken glass and other debris. Avoid lighting matches and cigarettes due to possibly ruptured gas lines. Try to stay calm. Help will arrive.
And remember, be prepared financially, too, before a storm ever hits. Don’t let nature blow away what you’ve worked hard to build. If you’ve made improvements to your home or purchased large ticket items, let us know. We can ensure they are properly insured. We can also help you review your Erie Insurance homeowners policy anytime so you’re aware of the coverage limits and can adjust them as needed. Give us a call at 888.304.6678. Fill out our quick and simple form for a free Pennsylvania home insurance quote.