When severe weather hits, the most important thing you can have is a plan. At Zander Insurance, we want our clients to know that we’ve got your back before and after an inclement weather event, so we’ve provided some tips to help you, your family, and your home withstand the storms.
Tornadoes often come with little to no warning and, with speeds reaching up to 70 MPH, give you minimal time to find a safe space for shelter.
Before the Tornado
Plan a Family Tornado Drill
Everyone in your family must know what to do and where to go in the event of a tornado. During your practice drill, you should make sure to say what rooms in your home/apartment building are the safest to be in if a tornado happens.
Recognize the Warning Signs
- Dark skies, often greenish in hue
- Sizeable hail
- Large, low-lying dark clouds (especially if rotating)
- Loud roar, similar to a freight train
During the Tornado
Get To Shelter
If you have access to a safe room, get there fast. If you do not have a safe room — or if there is no time to reach it – get to the most secure place you can find, putting as many walls (and ceilings) between you and the tornado as possible. In the event you aren’t home, seek shelter in the closest building to you and head to the lowest floor. Most importantly, do not try to outrun it, even if you are in a car. If you’re in a vehicle and there are no nearby structures to seek shelter, fasten your seatbelt and cover your head. Don’t park your vehicle under a bridge or overpass – these structures can collapse during a tornado.
Don’t worry if you live in a high-rise building or don’t have a basement; simply go to a bathroom or closet, or the lowest floor. You could take shelter under a stairwell, but make sure to cover yourself with paddings, like a mattress or blankets, to protect against flying debris.
Get the Word Out
Call neighbors and loved ones to ensure they know when the area is affected by a tornado watch, and use social media to encourage people to get somewhere safe.
After the Tornado
Looking for damage after the tornado should only be done once the tornado warning has expired. Even if it looks calm out, that doesn’t mean it is safe to go out. Once you have received the all-clear to leave your shelter, be cautious when checking damages to your house and vehicle. Also make sure to report any downed power lines or issues with your utilities.
Before preparing for a flood, it is important to discern between a flood watch versus a warning. The Red Cross notes that a flood watch means, based on conditions, it is likely for a flood or flash flood to occur. However, a flood warning means that either a flood or flash flood is about to happen or is happening.
Before a Flood
It is important to take these steps to help protect your family and home:
- Clear gutters and downspouts of debris, so water can run freely.
- Elevate furniture and electronics; set appliances on concrete blocks.
- Know what route you’re taking in the event of an evacuation.
- Shut off utilities if the breaker panel could end up underwater.
- Fill your car’s gas tank and pack an emergency kit at the first notification of a flood watch.
- If time allows, consider placing sandbags around your home.
During a Flood
If you are told to evacuate, make sure you do so as soon as possible to avoid getting stuck. If evacuation is not necessary for your area, keep track of the news via television or weather radio to be aware of any weather changes and get to the high ground if necessary. It is important to not walk, swim, or drive through flooded waters as they could contain debris or sewage. Even worse, currents could sweep you away and cause injury or death.
After a Flood
If you are evacuated, only return home once authorities say it is safe to do so. Once you arrive home, be wary of floodwater as it can contain dangerous debris or be electrically charged from downed power lines. Make sure to clean anything that got wet during the flood to avoid growing hazardous mold. If there is still floodwater in your area, avoid driving unless it is an emergency.
Before a Hurricane
Stock Emergency Supplies
- 1 gallon of water per person per day, for at least three days
- At least a three-day supply of nonperishable foods
- Flashlight(s) and extra batteries
- First-aid kit
- Necessary medications, including glasses and contact lenses
Take photos of all your possessions, your home, deck, vehicles, etc. before the storm hits, in the event you need to document damage afterward.
Fill Your Bathtub with Water
Before the hurricane, fill your bathtub with water to use in the event your water supply is cut off and you need to clean clothes, dishes or add water to flush toilets.
Bring in all lawn furniture and anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
During a Hurricane
Take shelter in the safest room in your house and stay there until the storm is over. In most cases, the safest place to be is your basement.
If your power goes out, to avoid the threat of fire, don’t use candles. Use only flashlights and battery-operated lanterns for illumination.
After A Hurricane
Wait until it has been confirmed that the hurricane has passed. Just because the weather has died down doesn’t mean it is safe to go outside – it could just be the eye of the storm.
Once you have received the okay to leave your house, only drive if necessary and be sure to avoid flooded roads. In your home, do not drink the tap water until it has been confirmed as contamination-free. Be sure to take photos and create a list of all damages your home, property, or vehicle might have sustained and then contact your insurance company to report the damage and file a claim.
In the event of a disaster, the Personal Lines Team is here for you! We are not only part of your community, but we live here as well. Our team can help you with reporting a claim and help you get back on the road to recovery. We have a mobile team that can work from just about anywhere. In the unfortunate event of a catastrophe, please call us at 800-356-4282. We will be glad to help.