Spring has sprung and with it so too has the heightened possibility of tornadoes, hail, and other standard bands of extreme weather that come with living in North Texas. The Dallas-Fort Worth area is no stranger to such threats and while we are all hoping for a calm tornado season in North Texas, it’s important to be prepared.
If you are facing a tornado, there are lots of things to consider to help protect your household. This starts with the members of your home and the home itself. You’ll need to be sure that everyone is equipped with the necessary knowledge and tools to overcome this time of crisis.
The first step is education. There’s no need to panic when you have an understanding as to what to expect and do during a situation. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been living in the area for decades or have newly moved in the area, every homeowner can use a refresher on staying prepared during tornado season. Check out our guide and be sure to stay safe this spring and all year long.
Have A Plan In Place for Your Home
If the first step is education, the second step for your home is to have a plan and explain each member’s role in said plan. You’ll want to account for what the procedure is for everyone and create different plans should not all of the members of your home be present during the time of the tornado. This is where you ensure that everyone understands what supplies are needed, where to meet for shelter, the responsibilities during the aftermath, and more.
You’ll also want to discuss and develop plans for anyone in your home that requires special accommodations. This includes household pets, the elderly, handicapped members of your family, etc. Having a plan can save lives and limit destruction during and after a tornado.
Maintain An Emergency Supply Kit
Creating and maintaining an emergency supply kit is instrumental for ensuring the safety of you and the members of your household during a tornado. You’ll need to be sure that your emergency supply kit comes with a variety of items built to keep your family safe during and after the storm. The City of Dallas has a great video, available in both English and Spanish, as well as infographics for an in-depth look at what your emergency supply kit should look like. For a quick review, here are some of the highlights:
- First aid kit.
- Bottled water.
- Non-perishable food items and a can opener.
- Food and water for your pets.
- A fire extinguisher.
- Sleeping bags.
- Toiletries and personal hygiene items.
- Extra changes of clothing.
- An emergency radio.
- Cell phone chargers.
- Tools, including hammers in the event you are trapped.
- Personal documents, cash, and prescriptions.
Additional items such as toys and games can be helpful for entertainment and satisfying children, but essentials should focus on survival. Be sure that you have enough in your kit to get everyone through the storm and the aftermath that may follow.
Identify Your Home’s Safe Room
Depending on your home, where you seek shelter may be different. For those living inside mobile homes, your shelter will need to be found well in advance as no area within the home is safe during a tornado. Basements are ideal, but there are few if any homes in or around Dallas, Texas, that come equipped with such rooms. What you’ll want to do is identify a centered room or closet in your home on the lowest floor of your home. Always avoid windows and remain as sheltered as possible during the duration of the tornado. Be sure to have room for all of the members of your family, including pets, and your emergency supply kit.
Stay In Communication
One of the biggest challenges you may face in the aftermath of a tornado is communication. Downed powerlines and phone lines can create obvious challenges. There is the chance that your mobile devices or computers are destroyed as well as the fiber or cable infrastructure that delivers the Internet. But understanding the event you are facing and the steps being taken can help you stay safe and best prepared during and after a storm.
Additionally, you might find that lines of communication can also become disrupted due to high amounts of traffic during these times. Here are a few tips that can help your family stay in communication with each other and important messages from local authorities:
- It is easier for you to connect via text than it is through a phone call or video message. Set up an emergency text group with your household for easy communication in the event you are separated during the time of disaster.
- Follow local social media pages that are verified and capable of delivering accurate, trusted information. This would include a local news station, emergency services, government entities, etc. Avoid following friends, influencers, and others who may share incorrect information harming communication overall.
- Be sure to keep an emergency radio designed to broadcast imperative information during times of distress.
Knowing what comes next can help you and your family act accordingly. Remember, always follow the advice of local experts, authorities, and emergency service providers.
Remember To Prepare For Dangers After the Tornado Passes
Disasters are dangerous to well beyond the actual events themselves and tornadoes are no exception. Any area affected by destruction can unearth dangerous obstacles. Even your home may become an unsafe environment after a tornado and being aware of such dangers can help your family survive. Be aware of these dangers that can harm or kill you after a tornado passes your area:
- A damaged building can cause many hazards including broken glass, unfit building materials which could harm you in numerous ways, etc. Avoid such areas until they are cleared as safe by local authorities.
- Utilities and downed trees can present electrical hazards. Live wires can kill you and others who may touch them after a storm. Stay away from downed powerlines and fallen trees until they can be professionally cleaned.
- Trees suffering damage can also have unsafe limbs which may fall and harm you, others, or personal property such as your vehicle and should be avoided as well.
- Other forms of utilities can present issues such as exposed gas li>cnes that can cause fires or explosions. If you smell gas and are capable of doing so safely, you’ll need to contact your local provider to ensure this problem is resolved. Although you should expect a high volume of calls after a tornado and larger than normal wait times, for homeowners in the Dallas area, contacting Atmos Energy will be the way to go for most.
- Be sure to stay away from bodies of water that may be home to active powerlines and/or contamination.
- Fire hazards and the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning abound as you and others work to restore light and power while major utilities are incapacitated. Instead of candles try to use flashlights. If you are using a generator or taking shelter within your vehicle, be sure that your generator or car is located in an open-air space for the exhaust to safely leave the area.
Surviving a tornado is much more than making it through the main portion of such a catastrophic event. You’ll need to be ready for the worst while preparing for the best.
Consider Long Term Solutions to Keep Your Home Safe
Protecting your home is important and luckily there are many options available to homeowners to help them do just this when dealing with tornadoes. Although you can’t change the weather, you can best prepare for tornadoes as they are going to be a problem year after year. Here are some of the best long term solutions you have to protect your home from the threats tornadoes bring:
- One of the first lines of protection against hail and wind damage is your roof. Scheduling annual roof inspections can help you prevent small problems from becoming big problems. Hire a trusted, local contractor to be sure that your roof is in its best condition before tornado season.
- Windows are also huge vulnerabilities during a storm. Homeowners should never ride out a tornado near a window, but having tornado-resistant windows can help minimize damage and keep you safe. There are also storm shutters built to sustain higher winds and debris that may also come in handy. Again, having an expert contractor devise the best solutions for your home can help you find the right solutions to meet your needs.
- If your property is capable of holding a garage or shed, these structures can protect your outdoor possessions and vehicles in the event of a storm. Even if a tornado doesn’t destroy your home, hail and debris flying around can cause damage to your home and anything else exposed.
- Keeping your home’s yard free of unnecessary debris can also help you minimize the risk of damage to your home. This can include securing things such as trampolines, lawn furniture, or outdoor plants. You may even need to consider hiring a local tree cutting service to maintain trees around your home.
Among these options, maintaining the right homeowners insurance policy will help you be capable of protecting your home, your belongings, and the other structures on your property from hail and wind damage.
Since 2005, Freedom Insurance Group has served the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We understand the challenges that tornado season can bring our community and we are here to help. Through our extensive network of more than 25 top-rated home insurance providers, we can search your exact coverage needs and identify the lowest price available.
Each home is unique and we are proud to tailor your coverage to your specific needs through dedicated customer service and a personalized touch. To see how much you could save, feel free to use our no-obligation home insurance quote tool, or, speak to one of our agents today. Our average customer protects themselves for 40% less all year long!