Severe Weather Safety: How to Prepare

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- In the event of severe weather, there's not a lot you can do to prevent damage to your home, but you can take steps to prevent injury to the people and some important items inside it. You can also be ready for what steps you need to take after the storm if there is damage to your home.

Find a tornado-safe place:

  • Home with basement – The basement is often your safest bet, if it’s not prone to flooding. Pick a space away from windows and under some kind of sturdy protection if possible, like a heavy table.
  • Apartment building or home without a basement – Find a space away from windows on the lowest floor possible, like a small centered room, an interior hallway or under a stairwell.
  • Mobile home – Find an underground shelter or sturdy permanent structure nearby.

Create survival and first aid kits. Stow them in your safe space. Include things like non-perishable foods, bottled water, flashlight, batteries, phone chargers, first aid supplies, and medicines. Keep heavy blankets or an old mattress in your space too, for added protection.

"Listen to sirens, listen to anything that might cause you harm, and get in a safe place and don't assume that you're not going to be hit," said State Farm agent Tim Roberts. "Assume the worst, protect yourself and your family and your pets, and then after the storm, assess the damage."

If you do go into a safe place, wear your shoes. That way if there is damage, you'll be ready to move around safely. You can also wear a bike helmet. And bring a secure box of important family documents to your safe place, too.

Educate your family on the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning, and know what to do during each. Make sure everyone knows how to spot a tornado too. Watch for a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud, an approaching cloud of debris or a loud roar that’s similar to a freight train.

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