FUN FACT ABOUT ME!!! My family and I lost everything in a tornado (in Moore, Oklahoma of course) back in 2017. Thankfully no one was home at the time, but it was definitely devastating and eye opening to someone who grew up in a “let’s go outside and watch the storm” type of family.
So given that I’ve lived in “Tornado Alley” all my life and experienced the effects of a tornado, I thought I would share some of my insights into how to prep for storm season!
First and foremost, we want humans and animals to be safe. That’s a given. But have you ever thought about what you can do BEFORE the sirens go off? Or what to do if your house actually does get blown away? Yeah, I hadn’t either until it happened! I will share my tips on how to prepare yourself for that worst case scenario too.
SO here are my tips to help you and your family get ready for tornado season:
Make sure everyone in your household knows what to do in the event of a tornado. Identify a safe place in your home, such as a basement or storm shelter, where you can take cover. Make sure everyone knows how to get there and practice your plan regularly.
I don’t know about you, but I grew up hearing that bathtubs were a safe space to shelter during a tornado…. In my experience, relying on bathtubs as a safe space during a tornado is not advisable, as I didn’t see any intact bathtubs in my neighborhood after it was blown away! If you have a basement or tornado shelter, that’ll be your best choice. If you don’t have either of these spaces in your home, try and find a room with this criteria:
I cannot stress this one enough! Taking a video inventory of everything in your home is crucial. We all know we need to stay safe and sheltered during a tornado, but what if the unthinkable happens and you’re left to deal with the wreckage post-storm?
This will help you document your belongings for insurance purposes in case of damage or loss. Make sure to go through and video every room, closet, and drawer, and store the video in a safe place, such as a cloud-based storage service. I mean it when I say EVERY DRAWER. When we lost our home my dad gave us all a sheet of paper with a bunch of lines on it and said, “write down everything you lost and how much it cost”. Imagine my facial expression when I realized what a daunting task that would be! When you’ve just gone through such a traumatic experience, the last thing you want to do is try to recall where your throw pillows were from or how many bottle of shampoo you had under your sink. This simple task could take you very little time to update every year. Set a reminder in your calendar to redo your videos in January or February every year to keep them up to date!
Prepare a tornado prep kit that includes essentials such as water, non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries, a first aid kit, a whistle, a radio, and a cell phone charger. This could be a fun and educational activity to do with your children. Let them help you pack up your prep kit while you explain to them what tornado season is and how you all will be so prepared! Let them add one of their favorite toys or snacks too! Keep this kit in your safe place, so it’s easy to grab in case of an emergency.
High winds can turn outdoor items, such as patio furniture and grills, into dangerous projectiles. Make sure to secure or bring in any loose items around your property before a tornado. This one may be something you do only if you have time because often tornadoes come with very little warning. I can’t count the number of stories I’ve heard of friends going to their backyard after a storm to find their trampoline has migrated a few houses down…And while a trampoline isn’t easy to dismantle and stow away, if you can store your outdoor furniture in a garage or in your home given proper time to prepare it may save you and your neighbors from possible exterior house damage.
Tree limbs can also turn into projectiles! So keep your trees trimmed up year round to reduce the risk of damage from fallen limbs during a storm!
Stay alert and aware of the weather conditions in your area. Listen to local news and weather alerts for any warnings or watches. This can be a scary season for some who haven’t lived their entire life in a tornado prone state, but if you are prepared ahead of time you will have one less thing to stress about!
Love, Christian <3