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We're Not in Kansas Anymore

We're Not in Kansas Anymore

How to prepare your family for a tornado.

Poor Dorothy didn't even see it coming. Perhaps if she had been prepared for a tornado, she wouldn’t have ended up in the Land of Oz.

Every year hundreds of tornados sweep the U.S. and cause loss of life and millions (sometimes billions) of dollars in property damage. A tornado can be on the ground in an instant and leave unsuspecting victims with only seconds to react. The time to make a plan is now, not when you hear that dreaded freight train sound.

Do you have a plan?

Preparation is key to ensure you and your family are protected when the unexpected happens.

Things to do in advance:

  1. Identify a safe room or shelter for yourself, your family, and any pets. This space should be on the lowest floor, preferably an area without windows.
  2. Do not seek shelter in a mobile home. If tornado warnings are in effect, seek shelter in a site-built structure or, in a worst case scenario, a low lying area such as a ditch. Download a trusted weather app and ensure notifications are turned on.

  3. Check out Toms Guide to the best weather apps. I personally use NOAA Radar Pro and receive updates on watches and warnings in my general area as well as where lightning, rain, hail, and high winds are occurring.
  4. Gather an emergency kit that includes water, a flashlight, fresh batteries, a first aid kit, medications, and non-perishable foods. Store the kit in or near your safe room.
  5. Create a list of important telephone numbers and ensure everyone in your home has these numbers saved on their devices.
  6. Add emergency contacts to your phone. First responders can use these in the event you are unable to self rescue. Here is a guide to set up your contacts for Apple users: How to set up and use the emergency function with Apple.

  7. Have additional protection against falling items from above, like a heavy duty table, or cover yourself with thick blankets, a mattress, or sleeping bag.
  8. Discuss your emergency plan with your children. Educate them on the warning signs of a tornado and when they should take cover.
  9. Practice your emergency plan with your family. Run drills periodically and ensure everyone knows where to go and what to do. During a tornado, every second matters.

When severe weather happens:

  1. Be aware of any local tornado alarms
  2. Take advise of local weather watches or warnings.
  3. Keep an eye out for a dark or green-colored sky, low lying clouds and listen for a loud roar that may sound like a freight train.

For additional facts on tornadoes please visit NSSL (The National Sever Storms Laboratory).

How to prepare for an insurance claim after property damage:

  1. Before there is a threat of severe weather, document your belongings with a video or photos of each room. Gather and protect supporting documentation for high-value property such as jewelry, watches, etc. Upload all documentation to a cloud server.
  2. Review your insurance policy and be sure you understand your coverage limits, any limitations of coverage, and any special policy deductible for hail or wind.
  3. Save your insurance company’s contact information and policy number in your phone and back it up to the cloud.
  4. When property damage occurs, notify your insurance company right away. When it is safe to do so, walk around your property and take photos. Create a list of damaged items for your adjuster and include any invoices, receipts, or proof of ownership.

Remember, you and your family’s safety is more important than property. Plan, prepare, and practice your emergency response plan. Your life could depend on it.

Graphic courtesy of NOAA

This article was written by Troy Stewart, President and Chief Operating Officer of Brush Country Claims.

Click here to view more of Troy's content on LinkedIn

About Brush Country Claims

Brush Country Claims is an independent adjusting firm that offers a full claims solution for residential, commercial, daily, and catastrophe claim management. Brush Country utilizes an innovative suite of proprietary technology to maximize customer experience while consistently having some of the fastest cycle times in the industry. A human led, tech forward approach embraces the grassroots beginnings of the company as well as their incredible drive to propel into the future.