Tornado safety tips from State Farm Insurance

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(photo from Canva)

During the peak of storm season, our greatest concern is for the safety of everyone who will be affected by a storm. State Farm encourages all residents in the projected path of any storm to protect themselves and their property. 

 Despite taking proper precautions to prepare your home for a disaster, damage happens.  

State Farm suggests the following preparation tips. 

Before: 

  • Move garbage cans, patio furniture and other large objects inside. 
  • Board up or cover windows with protective covers. 
  • Prepare for power outages by keeping items such as flashlights and batteries on hand. 
  • Create a home inventory: Make a list of your possessions and their estimated value 
  • Put together an emergency kit. The kit should include basics such as water, food, first aid, blankets and important documents. 
  • Evacuation – Follow your local authority’s evacuation process. Fill your vehicle’s gas tank. Don’t forget medications, identification and cash. 
  • Tie up boats securely or, if possible, place inside a building. 
  • Safe Room……If you’re at home, pick a place in the home where family members can gather if a tornado is headed your way. One basic rule is AVOID WINDOWS. An exploding window can injure or kill. 
  • The safest place in the home is the interior part of a basement. If there is no basement, go to an inside room, without windows, on the lowest floor. This could be a center hallway, bathroom or closet. 
  • For added protection, get under something sturdy such as a heavy table or workbench. If possible, cover your body with a blanket, sleeping bag, or mattress, and protect your head with anything available–even your hands. Avoid taking shelter where there are heavy objects, such as pianos or refrigerators, on the area of floor that is directly above you. They could fall though the floor if the tornado strikes your house. 

After: 

  • If you have damage, contact your insurance agent/company immediately. State Farm customers can call 1-800-SF-CLAIM, their agent or report their claim online at www.statefarm.com 
  • Avoid driving if possible. If you have to travel, turn around if the road is flooded or blocked by debris. 
  • Stay away from downed power lines. Anything touching the power line can carry a charge. Report the downed line and avoid the area. 

Clean-Up: 

  • Examine the area for hazards: Before any cleanup, survey the property. If there are any unusual odors, water near electrical appliances or outlets, the structure of the building is questionable, or you see any chemicals in the water, check with your local authorities and utilities to make sure it’s safe to return. 
  • Use proper safety gear, such as goggles, hard hats, masks, heavy gloves and waterproof boots. Begin the cleanup process. 
  • Make temporary repairs to avoid further damage to your property. Take plenty of photos and receipt for repairs. 
  • Document everything: To assist with the insurance claim process, be sure to document items you throw out. Save your receipts, photograph the items and by making a room-by-room inventory of missing or damaged goods. Include manufacturers’ names, dates and places of purchase and prices, if possible. 
  • Do not throw out any expensive items, such as large televisions and furniture, until authorized by your claim representative 
  • Once you have cleaned up your property and you are ready to begin repairs, be careful of home restoration scams.  
  • Find a qualified license contractor to complete any repairs. Insist on a detailed, written estimate clearly stating the quantity of materials needed. Avoid signing any repair contracts without reviewing first with your insurance company.