People are fascinated with tornadoes. In fact, many Hollywood producers use them for environmental conflicts that a character has to endure and overcome. Tornadoes on the screen are fictionalized but the need to plan ahead for tornado season is real – and now is the time to do so. Southern states actually experience most tornado activity and it generally occurs from March through May. Northern states who experience tornados will find it occurring mostly from late spring to early summer. Historically, every state has actually experienced a tornado.
There are critical steps that every home owner should consider to keep your family and loved ones safe should a tornado come your way. If you are building a new home, there are measures that your builder can take to enhance your home’s resistance to damage. Strengthening the connections between roof and walls using straps are metal connections can significantly lessen the damage a home can experience during and after a tornado. Hurricane clips are best installed during the construction phase. During a tornado, your doors and windows will take a beating. Garage doors, in particular, are susceptible to damage from high winds. To help reinforce your garage door, ask your builder to install vertical door braces. After installation, the braces can then be removed and mounted as necessary.
Entry doors should be made of material that will stand up to flying debris. Be sure your door also has at least three hinges and a dead bolt that’s at least one-inch long. Sliding glass doors should be made of impact-resistant material, such as laminated glass, plastic glazing, or a combination of both. If you don’t have permanent shutters for windows, consider window clips that can hold plywood in place. Some methods of construction that save energy, such as insulating concrete, also provide another benefit: protection. Walls that are built with brick and vinyl exteriors received minimal damage from flying debris.
When the wind is roaring at high speeds, anything can become a dangerous flying object. Keep your trees and shrubs trimmed. If you have gravel in your yard, replace it with mulch such as shredded bark. Trees that are dying can be forced loose with sudden winds. Cutting down large, dying trees can often prevent massive damage from occurring. It is called preventative measures.
If your home does not have such a basement, go to the center of a room that is surrounded by other rooms, such as a closet in an interior hallway. The idea is to put as many walls between you and the outside – avoid windows, doors and outside walls. Take protection under a sturdy table. It is also important to keep plenty of water and flashlights accessible.
There is no one that wants to experience a tornado. We all like excitement, but this is not the kind of excitement we need or look for. Preparedness and a good family action plan will certainly diminish the opportunity for damage or injury. And if you are in the building phase, find out what your builder can do to get your home “tornado proof”.
Source: “Are You Ready for a Tornado?” New Home Source. New Home Source. Web. 14 May 2013.
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