According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), approximately 1,200 tornadoes hit the U.S. each year. Insurance provider GEICO offers a few important tips to help you protect yourself, your family and your belongings:
- Put together a disaster supply kit – Gather important supplies such as battery-powered flashlights and radios, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, blankets, personal hygiene products, and a spare change of clothes. Also consider specialty items for children, elderly and pets.
- Build an emergency communication and evacuation plan – Pick a safe place to meet in the event that your family is separated during a storm. Determine how you will get in touch with loved ones to let them know you are safe.
- Designate a safe room within your home – Select a place in your home where you and your family will be most safe during a storm. The basement or an interior room on the main level typically provides the best protection against severe weather.
- Stock up on food and water – Always keep a supply of non-perishable food and water to last each family member at least a week. One gallon of water per person, per day is the suggested amount. Also make sure you have access to a manual can opener and other important utensils you may need.
- Store important documents in a safe location – Consider investing in a safe box to store your important documents, photos and other valuables.
- Create a home inventory – Keep an up-to-date inventory of all items in your home. Include photos of valuables such as electronics and jewelry. This may help speed up the claims process if damage occurs as a result of the storm.
- Review your insurance coverage – Contact your insurance carrier to find out if you’re fully protected. Use your home inventory to help determine if you have purchased enough insurance.
- Pay attention to weather alerts – Be aware of weather alerts and updates. In the event that a tornado watch or tornado warning is issued, seek shelter immediately and follow any official instructions from local or national officials.