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Safety Measures And Tips On How To Prepare Yourself, Your Family, And Your Home From Tornadoes And Hurricanes

It is important for you to know the classification of tornadoes and hurricanes so that you can be able to gauge the potential to cause damage of any tornado or hurricane. This will enable you to know the appropriate measures and actions that you need to take to protect yourself, your family, and your home from any hurricane and tornado.

1) Hurricanes are extremely large, destructive, and powerful storms with strong winds that have speeds of higher than 74 miles/hour. The Saffir/Simpson Scale is used to classify hurricanes according to their damage potential and wind speed, into the following five categories:

a) Category One (74 to 95 miles/hour): This category of hurricanes causes little or no damage to homes. Mainly causes damage to foliage, trees, and shrubbery.

b) Category Two (96 to 110 miles/hour): Causes some damage to the roofing materials of homes, and poorly constructed signs are extensively damaged. Coastal roads cut-off by the rising water 2-4 hours before the center of the hurricane arrives.

c) Category Three (111 to 130 miles/hour): Damages small buildings and causes minor damage to roofing material, doors, and windows of homes.

d) Category Four (131 to 155 miles/hour): Doors, windows, and roofing materials of homes, are extensively damaged. Complete failure of roofs of many small homes, and mobile homes are completely destroyed. The lower floors of homes that are close to the shore are damaged by floods, and being battered floating debris and waves.

e) Category Five (Greater than 155 miles/hour): Poorly constructed timber homes are completely destroyed. The lower floors of homes that are less than fifteen feet above sea level, and less than a hundred feet from the shoreline are damaged. Many homes experience complete failure of their roofs, and the doors and windows of homes are extensively damaged.

2) Tornadoes are classified into five categories, F-0 through F-5. F-0 tornadoes are the mildest. F-5 tornadoes are the most dangerous (and the rarest).

Tornadoes are violently rotating columns of air that extend between, and are in contact with, clouds and the earth’s surface. The United States is the country with the highest incidence of tornadoes in the world, with more than a thousand occurring every year. Tornadoes can come in clusters or one at a time, and they may vary greatly in direction of travel, length, and speed, and width. Tornadoes are classified according to damage they cause and wind speed (in brackets) into the following seven groups, according to the Enhanced Fujita Scale:

a) EF-0 (65 to 85 mph): Causes light damage. The typical damage done to homes by this group includes, peeling off of some roofs, damage to siding or gutters.

b) EF-1 (86 to 110 mph): Causes moderate damage. This group of tornadoes overturns or badly damages mobile homes, severely strips roofs, windows are broken, and exterior doors are lost.

c) EF-2(111 to 135 mph): Causes considerable damage. This group completely destroys mobile homes, completely removes roof of well-constructed homes, foundations of frame homes are shifted, and vehicles are lifted off the ground.

d) EF-3 (136 to 165 mph): Causes severe damage. This group destroys well-constructed storied homes, and causes severe damage to large buildings.

e) EF-4 (166 to 200 mph): Causes devastating damage. This group completely levels well-constructed homes, and whole frame houses. Small missiles are generated, and vehicles are thrown.

f) EF-5 (higher than 200 mph): Causes incredible damage. This group completely levels off, and sweeps away strong frame homes, and causes significant structural deformation of high-rise buildings.

e) EF-6 (extremely high wind speeds): Causes inconceivable damage. This group has the ability of completely destroying most homes, and generates missiles (vehicles, storage tanks etc.) that cause secondary damage to homes.

How To Prepare Your Home For A Tornado Or Hurricane

1) Reinforce the garage doors of your home so that they can be able to withstand the strong winds of hurricanes and tornadoes.

2) Inspect the area surrounding your home to ensure that trees and landscaping don’t become hazards as a result of the strong winds. Trim all overhanging or weak branches and dead wood from trees.

3) Move any items that you usually keep outside your home to safety, these may include plants, patio furniture, and grills.

4) Turn off the electricity of your home at the fuse box or main circuit breaker to reduce the risk of being electrocuted by live dangling wires after the hurricane or tornado, and also protect your appliances from being damaged by power surges.

5) If your home is supplied with propane or natural gas, turn it off at the tank or meter.

6) If your home lacks permanent shutters, install your windows with wooden panels on your windows to protect yourself from the strong winds and flying objects that are experienced during hurricanes and tornadoes.  

7) Reinforce the connection between the walls and roof with strong straps and bracing that are able to resist the uplift of the strong winds of hurricanes and tornadoes.

8) Install a roof covering that is designed to resist the high winds of hurricanes and tornadoes.

9) Seal all roof sheathing joints of your home with self-stick rubberized asphalt tape so as to provide a secondary barrier against moisture.

10) If your home has more than one story, make sure that the wall framing of the upper story is connected firmly to the lower framing.

11) Check if your home’s insurance coverage covers damages caused by hurricanes and tornadoes. Most of the homeowner insurance policies don’t cover damage caused by floods.

12) Check if your home meets the current building code requirements for strong winds. Your home will have a higher chance of surviving the violent winds of tornadoes and hurricanes if it meets the current high wind provisions.

13) Put any valuable documents in waterproof containers and carry them with you when evacuating.

14) Remove all the perishable items from your freezer or refrigerator before you evacuate.

How To Prepare For A Tornado Or Hurricane If You Live In A Mobile Or Manufactured Home

1) No manufactured or mobile home, is a safe shelter from the strong winds of hurricanes and tornadoes.

2) Never ride-out a tornado or hurricane in a manufactured or mobile home, even if it isn’t located in an evacuation zone.

3) Although you must evacuate your mobile or manufactured home before a hurricane or tornado you can do the following to minimize damage to your property, and protect your family:

a) Develop a family disaster plan.

b) Check tie-downs for breakage or rust.

c) Pack any fragile items in boxes and put the boxes on the floor.

d) Install cut pieces of plywood or shutters on all windows.

e) If you have a propane tank, secure it and leave it outside.

f) Have the local building officials inspect your mobile or manufactured home and asses its safety.

If you live in a tornado or hurricane prone area, it’s very important and safe for you to be always updated with the weather department. You should also study the disaster preparation plans of your community.

You should also get an emergency kit so that you can be able to protect you and your family in case of a tornado or hurricane. The emergency kit should contain the following items:

a) A 3 day supply of food and drinking water

b) First aid supplies

c) Blankets

d) Portable lanterns, and fresh batteries

e) Emergency cooking equipment

f) A flashlight

g) Gloves

h) A radio (This will keep you and your family updated about the evacuation, and rescue plans, after experiencing a tornado or hurricane.)

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