Tornado Tip Sheets
Preparing for a Tornado*
If you live, work or travel near the tornado alley hot zone, which runs through the Central and Mid-West regions of the United States, you probably know how frightening a tornado can be. Even if you live far from these areas, you could still be affected by an unexpected tornado. Tornadoes strike every month of the year in nearly every region. Here is some information that may help you protect yourself, your family and your property in the event of a tornado.Prepare ahead of time:
Prepare family members:
- Review your homeowners insurance policy to ensure you have adequate protection and appropriate coverages. Please contact your Liberty Mutual representative for details.
- Homeowners policies provide coverage for valuables, up to certain limits. For maximum protection, you should have jewelry, silverware, furs and other valuables appraised, then scheduled separately to your policy. You'll get the broadest coverage possible, with no deductible. Ask your Liberty Mutual representative for more information.
- Take an inventory of your personal property. Document this inventory with a videotape or photographs. Store this information and other important documents in a safe deposit box. Liberty Mutual offers a brochure that will guide you, room-by-room, through an inventory -- call your local office for a free copy.
Assemble disaster supplies:
- Teach your children what to do in the event of an emergency.
- Have someone take a first aid course if possible.
- Appoint an out-of-town friend or relative to serve as your "family contact." After a disaster, anyone not at home should check in with the contact person.
- Know your pets' favorite hiding places so that you can find them in an emergency.
Prepare emergency rations:
- First aid supplies, including sterile gauze pads, scissors, bandages, tweezers, antiseptic spray, latex gloves and a bar of antibacterial soap.
- Prescription and non-prescription medicines, including non-prescription pain relievers, antacid, eye wash, rubbing alcohol, and medicine to induce vomiting in the event of poisoning.
- Battery-operated radio with extra batteries and note indicating what station to turn to for emergency information.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- Cash or travelers checks.
- Dry clothes and sturdy shoes for each family member.
- Sleeping bags and a tent.
- Toilet paper and other personal hygiene items.
- Special items required for babies or pets.
If a tornado is imminent:
- Stock up on bottled water and non-perishable food, such as canned meats, soup, juice and powdered milk.
- Set aside emergency cooking utensils, including a manual can opener, matches, sterno and lightweight cooking pots.
- Store emergency rations of food or beverages in non-breakable containers.
- Listen for radio or television reports from the National Weather Service and follow all instructions.
If you are driving:
- If in your home, head for the basement and seek shelter under heavy items, such as staircases or heavy-duty work benches.
- If no basement is available, find a windowless room in the center of the house. Interior bathrooms or closets are best.
- Stay away from areas with a lot of glass, such as office-building atriums.
After the tornado has passed:
- Move away from the storm by driving at right angles to the storm's path.
- If escape is not possible, get out of your car and lie flat in a ditch or ravine upwind of your automobile.
- If you are in a mobile home, leave immediately and seek shelter in one of the ways mentioned above.
Check your utilities:
- Check for injuries to your family and to others in the neighborhood. Only move a seriously injured person if he or she is in immediate physical danger.
- Check for fires or fire hazards.
Follow these general precautions:
- Inspect gas, electric and water lines.
- If you smell gas or see a break in the line:
Shut off the main gas valve.
Do not use matches, lighters or open-flame appliances.
Do not operate electrical switches or appliances.
- Shut off electrical power if there is damage to house wiring.
- Report damage to your utility companies and follow their instructions.
- Avoid downed power lines or objects touched by downed wires.
Follow these food precautions:
- Immediately clean up spilled medicines, drugs and other potentially harmful materials.
- Do not use your telephone except for emergency calls.
- Turn on radio or television for damage reports and information.
- Wear shoes in all areas near debris or broken glass.
- Check your freezer. If the power is off, plan meals of foods that will spoil quickly.
- Use outdoor charcoal broilers for emergency cooking.
- Do not eat or drink anything from open containers near shattered glass. Liquids may be strained through a clean handkerchief or cloth if the danger of glass contamination exists.
- Take an inventory of any damaged property or possessions. Do not dispose of any items without the prior approval of an insurance claims adjuster.
- In the event of a loss, contact your Liberty Mutual claims office and a representative will assist you.
Note: Homeowners policies and coverages vary by state. A Liberty Mutual representative will gladly explain the coverages provided by your policy and any regulations for the state in which you live.
*Source: Institute for Business and Home Safety, http://www.disastersafety.org/