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In May 2013, a category EF5 tornado raced through the small town of Moore, Oklahoma, killing 24 people, injuring nearly 400, and destroying $2 billion in property. Tragically, this is not an isolated incident.
Tornados occur more often in the United States than any other country, especially in “Tornado Alley,” a region that stretches from north Texas up to Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. They cause an average of 60 deaths and 1500 injuries every year.
In most cases, you’ll only have about 15 minutes to prepare for a tornado. Here are tips to stay safe and minimize your risk:
Step #1: Create a home inventory
Take photos of all valuables in your home and add notes about when they were purchased and how much they’re worth. Keep your inventory notes and any important receipts in a fire-proof safe. Many insurers also offer online tools for storing this data.
Step #2: Make sure you have enough insurance
If you recently purchased or inherited valuable items, make sure your home or renters insurance gives you enough coverage to replace them. If it doesn’t, you can supplement it with a rider. Also be sure that you have enough homeowner’s insurance to rebuild your home if necessary
Step #3: Have an emergency plan
Practice how you and your family would react if a tornado strikes. Choose a “safe room” in your home with no windows or heavy furniture, such as a basement. Create a communications plan, in case you aren’t together when disaster strikes. Stock up on batteries, water, and canned food, in case of an extended power outage.