With the 5th anniversary of the tragic Joplin tornado just passing and the storms sweeping through North central Kansas, we started thinking about ways Ozarkers could protect their homes and themselves if a tornado should occur this summer. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, May has been the most frequent month for tornadoes in the state of Missouri, followed closely by June. We sincerely hope that these concerns never come to fruition, but it is important to be prepared in case of severe weather, especially tornadoes.
First and foremost, we want to share few tips on protecting yourself in these situations.
Seeing a tornado firsthand can be a shocking experience. Having a plan in place for what you and your family will do if severe weather hits near your home is very important. Find a place with the fewest amount of windows in your home, ideally near the center of the home on the lowest floor. Have an emergency kit ready, too. A radio can be a valuable tool in times of severe weather. Having a flashlight or candles is also a good idea in case of power outages. Keeping your phone nearby is also advisable in this situation.
“Having a Plan of action is the most important part” Tyler Wirkus of Missouri Storm Shelters, “just being prepared, and knowing what to do.”
Everyone needs to be on the same page in the event of a tornado. Occasionally running through the plan with your family is a great way to be sure that everyone under your roof knows exactly what to do. Assign roles for each part of the plan and practice them. Preparation is key.
Protecting your home from a tornado can be done in many different ways.
Steel storm doors can be purchased locally that can withstand winds in excess of 250 miles per hours. Missouri Storm Shelters installs tornado resistant doors for around $2200. These doors are put to the test against strict industry standards, and are able to hold up against an F5 tornado, the highest on the scale. Wirkus says that Missouri Storm shelters invited a Marine to fire ballistics at the door to further test its mettle. Only armor piercing rounds were able to penetrate the doors.
If you’ve heard that opening your windows can minimize the pressure in your home during a tornado, you heard wrong. Opening windows during a tornado really only welcomes debris into your home and wastes time. Every second counts when a tornado is imminent. Leave the windows shut!
Many people believe that an underground shelter would be more safe than one kept in a garage or basement. According to Wirkus, an above ground is a bit safer because it is less likely that debris will trap inhabitants. These storm shelters are anchored into reinforced steel concrete. 4” Thick steel up to 24 occupants. Missouri Storm Shelters has customizable shelters as well. Plug ins can be added to enable your phone addiction. Fans, custom paint and plenty of other alterations can be made as well. Shelter start at $4299.
According to Luke Nixon, President of Nixon and Lindstrom in Springfield, Tornadoes are covered in most home insurance policies. That doesn’t mean one should assume that they’re covered, though. Be sure to ask when choosing a home insurance policy that tornado protection is covered.
Aside from tornado protection, wind and hail are also important to consider when choosing a home insurance policy.
“The one thing that we’ve seen in last 5 years is insurance companies begin to include wind and hail due to increased wind events in Southwest Missouri,” says Nixon, “take this into consideration when choosing your homeowners policy.”
Another big consideration now is the age and condition of the roof.
“Buyers and sellers definitely need to consider the condition of the roof before choosing an insurance policy,” says Nixon.
In short, preparation is the most important aspect of protecting your home from tornadoes and other inclement weather. If the unthinkable should happen, it’s always better to be ready. Look into these suggestions in your own home and share this post with your friends and family to help spread the word!