How to Prepare for and Recover from Tornado Damage
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- What is a tornado?
- How can I prepare my home and family for a tornado?
- What should we do during a tornado?
- What should I do after a tornado?
- Is tornado damage covered under my homeowners insurance policy?
What is a tornado?
A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that extends from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground. Tornadoes typically form when a warm front meets a cold front and a thunderstorm begins to form. Tornados are the most violent and deadly of all atmospheric storms with winds that can reach up to 300 miles per hour. They typically travel anywhere between 30 MPH and 70 MPH and are most common east of the Rocky Mountains during late spring and summer.
How can I prepare my home and family for a tornado?
Tornadoes often strike quickly and with very little warning. Typically, right before a tornado strikes the wind may die down and the air may become very still. Dust, dirt and water vapor which get caught up in a tornados winds make a tornado visible to the eye and they can often be spotted on the outer edge of a thunderstorm.
If you live in an area heavily affected by tornados, be sure to stay on top of changing weather conditions. Listen to local weather on the radio or television regularly and keep an eye out for approaching storms in the sky. Have a pre-designated tornado shelter and make sure everyone in your family knows where it is located and how to access it. Practice what you will do in the event of a tornado so that if the real thing happens- you are prepared.
What should we do during a tornado?
Hail, dark rotating clouds and a loud roar are often warnings signs for a tornado strike especially when there has already been a tornado warning issued in your area.
Once you spot a tornado, get yourself and your family to a shelter either in your home or in a nearby building. Safe areas of a building include the basement, storm cellar or interior room. Put as many layers of wall and roof between you and the outdoors as possible.
If you are in a vehicle and spot a tornado, get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a nearby building or storm shelter. If you find yourself outdoors without shelter during a tornado, FEMA recommends you lie flat in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.
What should I do after a tornado?
After a disaster like a tornado, the most important thing is to get yourself and your family members to a safe place and get any medical attention you may need. Find out what organizations in your community offer this type of support such as a local chapter of the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army. Once physical, mental and emotional health is stable, most property owners access their property damage. Because tornados are the most violent atmospheric storms, the affects can be devastating. If your home has suffered tornado damage, contact your homeowners insurance company immediately to file a claim.
Is tornado damage covered under my homeowners insurance policy?
Tornado damage is normally covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy under the wind and hail portion of your coverage. However, to be on the safe side, contact your homeowners insurance agent to verify your specific coverage.
For other sources of recovery information, visit the FEMA website.
FREE Home Inventory Checklist- Download a free home inventory checklist and start documenting your homes contents. In the event of a natural disaster, your home inventory will help speed up your claims process by providing documentation of what you lost.