By David Peel
I have compiled the following steps you can begin taking now to help assure your family is more prepared for a tornadic disaster before one occurs.
1. Obtain a weather radio with an alarm function to wake your family, as cell phone networks get overwhelmed in a storm and may prove unreliable.
2. Have a windowless place inside to hunker down to ride out the storm.
3. Stock it with some bottled water, granola bars, a bucket and paper for latrine use, a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, a radio, flashlights and batteries, important documents and photos, and sturdy shoes or boots, and you might consider football or motorcycle helmets.
4. Your homeowner’s insurance will require you to list your possessions in most cases. Photos will help you do that, so photograph your home and possessions thoroughly on your phone, including closets, to assist you in filling out the homeowner insurance claim forms.
5. If possible, consider a Shelter or a Tornado “Safe Room.” In order of preference, here are some recommendations:
a. A basement beneath a concrete slab, (rare in this area);
b. An added tornado Shelter installed under the slab, often under the garage;
c. A Modified interior Shelter or “Safe-Room” on the first floor;
d. A Modified Shelter or “Safe-Room” in the garage;
e. A non-modified windowless interior room under the stairs;
f. A non-modified windowless interior bathroom;
g. A non-modified windowless interior closet.
With an already-built home, a shelter maybe most conveniently added in the garage. A modified interior saferoom can also be created inside your existing home. A first-floor closet can be turned into a much safer place to shelter your family from the storm. There are plans on the FEMA website designed for a do it yourself solution.
Understand that, during a tornado, debris like limbs, boards and tiles can be thrown with enough force to slice through roofs and walls, including brick walls. Propelled debris is the cause of many of the injuries during a tornado. Complete structural failures are less common–but are quite deadly.
Therefore, an added saferoom should:
1. Be anchored to the slab;
2. Withstand wind pressure;
3. Resist penetration by windborne debris;
4. Withstand a falling tree.
No one plans to fail; but we often fail to plan.
Peel seeks justice for those injured in tractor trailer and car accidents, medical malpractice, and disability. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.