How to Prepare for a Tornado

How to Prepare for a Tornado & Free Storm Ready Checklist

Weather Girl. That is my nickname amongst some of my dear friends. I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed with weather, but I usually keep an eye on it. For safety reasons and because I find it interesting.

We are approaching a severe weather season and it doesn’t hurt to be a little extra prepared. Learn how my family and I prepare for a tornado or severe thunderstorm.

If you don’t need to use your preparations, great! If you need to utilize them, you will be glad you have a plan in place.

My Storm Reality

In 2013 and then again in 2015, a very close, neighboring town was hit with tornadoes. The EF-3 tornado in 2015 was on the ground for over 16 miles, leaving extensive damage. There were 12 tornadoes reported in northern Illinois that night. Lives were changed. I would be lying if I didn’t say it changed the way we prepare our family for storms. My husband and a team from church helped people clean up from the storm. Seeing remains of houses that once stood strong, now gone or damaged, was eye opening.

Ever since, we keep an eye on the weather and follow a couple different weather pages. If there is a day with a high storm threat, we will try to work our schedule around it. We can’t control the weather, but we can control how our family is prepared. 

Obviously bad weather can occur anytime, but it’s more common this time of year. 

Here are a few tips that we have learned over the years on how to prepare for a tornado:

How to Prepare for a Tornado: 12 Tips

1. Make a Checklist

Imagine packing for a trip a half hour before you’re supposed to leave. You might be able to pull it off, but if you’re like most people, you’d be fretting about the things you may have forgotten to do or pack.

The same is true for preparing for a tornado or storms. If things go crazy, you don’t want to be worried about everything you might have forgotten. It’s a good idea to have a checklist that you can refer to. We’ve made one for you, grab it HERE.

2. They Still Gotta Eat

If tornadoes are possible or storms are predicted for later in the day, get a meal in the crockpot and have it cooked and on warm. That way if the power goes out, you aren’t trying to feed everybody in the dark.

3. Ice, Ice Baby

Put your pre made ice cubes into gallon size bags and store them in the freezer. This will give you ice for your coolers and the ice maker can get to work making more ice for you.

4. Even More Ice

Freeze old, plastic containers or small tupperware with water. These will give you big ice blocks. If you lose electricity and have tornado or storm damage, you are not going to want to leave the house to go buy ice.

5. Make a Storm Kit

Get a bin or basket together and fill it with things you can keep stored away for storm season. Make sure to include:

  • non perishable snacks
  • wet wipes
  • water
  • paper towels
  • plates
  • flashlights
  • toilet paper

6. Don’t Run Out of Water

We live outside of town and have a well, so we fill our bathtub with water if chances are high for a storm. We have a pitcher of water near the bathtub to pour down the toilet to help it flush in case our power goes out. 

Read Also: DIY Family Command Center – Organize your kids paperwork, schedules, and chores with a simple Command Center.

7. Grab the Goods

I like to take my purse and our important papers to our shelter place with us. We take our wallets, cash on hand, and our social security cards. I have heard of people losing their cards in tornadoes and not getting them back. 

8. Keep Up Your Energy

On your devices, that is. We are going to have our phones, kindles, and ipad charged up. We need to be able to track the storms without our technology dying on us.

9. Roger That

My parents got us a NOAA Weather Radio several years ago and it has been helpful. We do make sure we have a fresh battery in it. I realize lots of warnings come via text these days, but it doesn’t hurt to have a back up. Especially if you live in an area where sirens are not extremely loud.

10. So Fresh and So Clean, Clean

Get all baths and showers done before a big storm is scheduled to arrive. If you lose electricity, the last thing you are going to want to think about is “I wish I had taken a shower.”

11. I Got the Power!

Purchase a generator if your budget allows. If you can afford a whole house generator, go for it! Right now, we have a small generator that we purchased from Aldi. We used it one summer after getting straight-line winds and losing power for 2 days. It would probably be able to keep our sump pump and fridge or freezer running.

If you have a generator, make sure you have some gas on hand in case you have to fire it up.

12. Last But Not Leash

Bring your dog’s leash with you when you bring your dog to the shelter. It will help keep track of your pet during the storm, plus you will have it on hand if needed after the storm passes.

Read Also: Be Prepared with a Sick Kit – Be prepared for unexpected illness with a Sick Kit! Keep a stash of all the necessities so you won’t be left empty handed.

What About Tornadoes?

Let’s talk about where you should go if you are suddenly faced with a tornado.

If you are home and have a basement, go to the basement.

Stay away from as many windows as possible. If you have a storm shelter, cellar, or crawlspace, go to that place. Get to the lowest level of your home.

If you don’t have a basement in your home, it’s recommended that you go to an interior room, on the lowest level, without windows. Put blankets or other furniture, like a mattress, around you to act as a shield for flying debris. Covering your head with your arms is also recommended.   

If you live in a mobile home or a camper, it’s advised to evacuate that shelter and find a more sturdy building. Those structures are more susceptible to storm damage. If you can’t find shelter in another building, it’s advised to lay low in a ditch and cover your head with your hands and arms. 

If youre driving and are faced with a tornado, do not try to outrun the tornado. Their behavior is unpredictable and intense. It’s advised to stay away from overpasses due to the strong wind and debris flying through them. Instead, get out of your vehicle and lay low in a ditch covering your head. Pay attention to the rain and be aware of flooding. 

Obviously, bad storms are sometimes predicted and don’t always come to fruition. That happens. On those really high-risk days, there is almost always damage for some people. Being prepared in the best way possible helps make a really hard situation a little bit better.

How do you prepare for storms? We would love to hear!

Your Checklist Printable

Be prepared for any storm that comes your way! Download our free printable checklist for How to Prepare for a Tornado. It’s always better to prepare ahead of time.

We’re offering this free printable to subscribers of our newsletter, and praying that you and your family stay safe this storm season! Get yours by signing up HERE.

Next Steps

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