Mar 19, 2018

How to Prepare Your Home for Tornado Season

How to Prepare Your Home for Tornado Season

The spring season in Texas offers cool mornings and warmer days. Flowers, birds and bugs begin to make more appearances, and the sun shines just a little longer for us. Of course, there’s always a flip-side. Spring in Texas also offers unstable weather conditions that can invite nasty tornadoes. Although the months of April – June are considered “tornado season,” Texas will generally see an average of 100 tornadoes terrorized our state every May. Living in a large city, you’re a tad more protected, as building grouped together can interrupt the speed that tornadoes need to become destructive. However, when it comes to these terrifying and mysterious funnels, no town is safe. When you learn how to prepare your home for tornado season, you’ll find peace of mind and feel more secure. If you live near the coast, you may also want to check out our Hurricane Safety Checklist to be prepared for those events that usually come later in the year. 

Use these simple steps about how to prepare your home for tornado season, and print out our free checklist!

  • Home Insurance: Make sure your home insurance is up to date.  If you have changed your home structurally – by either removing areas or creating additions, it’s important to be sure you are properly covered. A typical home insurance policy will cover wind, including that from a tornado. Double check your policy to be certain you are covered, and if you are not, be sure to add it. While you’re updating your home insurance, update your inventory list. Use these tips for creating a home inventory list, so that items lost or damaged can be replaced.
  • Home Warranty: Since you’re seeking protection of your home, owning a home warranty can also ensure that the items inside your home are covered, should damage occur. A Fixd Repair Home Warranty guarantees affordable Fixd Rate Pricing for your repairs on your electrical system, HVAC system, plumbing system, large and small appliances and much more. 
  • Safe Room: If you live in the city, chances are you won’t have a storm shelter to run to when the sirens begin wailing. Identify a safe place for you and your family to seek refuge. Keep these areas in your home clear of excess furniture and other items that might block your path. Should your home have a basement, make sure it’s accessible and free of clutter. A first floor bathroom or central room is usually a great alternative for a safe room, as well. Stock these areas with a tornado supply kit that includes batteries, bottled water, a radio, first aid kit and flashlights. FEMA has some great tips for creating a safe room.
  • Storm Shutters: Often referred to as “hurricane shutters,” these window coverings can keep your windows and home safer during intense winds. They need to be up to code and installed properly. Alternatively, you can board up your windows with plywood, aluminum or steel. All exterior windows should be protected. Note that duct or masking tape will help very little in protecting windows from cracking in tremendous winds. Keep items to board your windows in a storage closet or garage, so that when your local weatherperson notifies you that a tornado is on the way, you can quickly and efficiently gather them and begin work. Do NOT open your windows, as this creates pressure in your home (it does not “equalize it” and allows a direct line of wind into your home.
  • Secure Doors: The framing of your home is the most critical aspect of the safety of the structure. Your entry doors should have two-inch deadbolt locks and three hinges on all of them. The screws should be long enough to properly secure the door and frame to the wall. Even with thick, heavy doors (like steel), the framing is the weakest point so be sure your frame is properly anchored.
  • Loose Shingles: When you have loose shingles on your roof, they need to be repaired before tornadoes typically hit your area. Using roofing cement might be the easiest DIY solution. If your roof is weaker than it should be to protect your home, rafter clips/hurricane straps can help resist the forces of wind. When shingles can be lifted off your roof, this allows wind and water to enter, weakening the roof and inviting more damage.
  • Outdoor Area: Take a quick walk around your home. Look up and note the trees. If branches are touching or close to touching your home, they should be cut back so they don’t damage windows or the siding of your home. Trees should be planted the same distance as the length of the tree once it’s full grown. You’ll also want to pick up any items you store outside. If a tornado is on the way, clear some room in your garage and pick up any toys or bicycles, lawnmower, grill, free-standing garden beds, and lawn furniture. These items can easily be picked up by the intense winds, and slam into your home if they are stranded outside.
  • Fill Cracks: During your walk outside of your home, check your home’s exterior. To prevent water from getting into your home, use caulk to fill in holes and cracks.  This is a temporary but effective solution.
  • Garage Door: The garage door might just be the most vulnerable place in your home, because of their size. Most manufacturers make stiffeners or braces that you can attach permanently or temporarily. These braces add strength to the garage door. You may also want to check with the company that makes your garage door brand to see if they offer vertical braces that cover the entire vertical length of the door.

Print a free checklist on how to prepare your home for tornado season!

Tornado protection checklist

By the time those sirens are screaming, you won’t have much time to protect your home. Use these tips on how to prepare your home for tornado season so you can be one step ahead of the storm.

Tornado Information Resources