While tornados are more common in the Plains states, South Carolina has its fair share of tornadic activity also. We remember tornado drills from school, but are you prepared to protect your family and your home from a tornado? First Response takes a look at how you should prepare for a tornado and what to do after a tornado has passed.

Prepare Your Home and Family for a Tornado

Protecting your family is always the first priority in a disaster situation.

  • Discuss tornados and storms with children and make sure there is a plan in place: where to go, who to call, what to do.
  • Make sure you have access to local weather reports, either through local news stations or an NOAA radio in case you lose power.
  • Have an emergency kit ready with first aid items, bottled water, essential medicines and important phone numbers.
  • Don’t forget to include plans for your family’s pets. They will require sufficient shelter during a storm.

Preparing your home for a tornado helps protect your family and property.

  • Make sure your safe place is adequate for strong winds. Consider having it reinforced if it is unsafe.
  • Remove diseased, dead branches and limbs from trees. Loose tree branches can cause severe damage to your home by smashing windows, garage doors, and roofs.
  • Have a list of everything that needs to be brought inside in the event of a tornado: bins, trailers, vehicles, swings, anything that can be picked up and hurled by strong winds.
  • Remove debris from your yard – firewood and branches can become missiles in high winds.
  • Strengthen garage doors. This is a weak area on many homes. If a garage door is breached, the pressure from the wind can lift the roof off of the house.
  • Consider installing storm shutters to cover windows.

During a Tornado

  • Seek shelter! In South Carolina, we usually move to the center of the house, to a room with no windows. Move to a basement or shelter if you have one.
  • If you are driving, seek shelter and AVOID bridges and overpasses. It is not safe to park under an overpass. If you can’t find shelter, pull over, keep the engine running and your seatbelt on, crouch as low as you can below the windows and ride it out.

What to Do After a Tornado

Once the tornado has passed and you’ve been alerted that it’s safe to come out, make sure you and your loved ones are uninjured. Call friends and relatives to let them know you are okay.

If your home has been damaged by a tornado, call First Response right away. Beyond visible damage, there may be damage to gas lines, power lines and structural damage that needs to be inspected by a professional. If you see downed power lines or smell a gas leak, call the utility company immediately. If you have damage to your roof or windows that require tarping, First Response will be there to help and prevent further damage to your home. We can also clean up any damage and start on repairs right away.

Be sure to have our number close at hand – 803-750- 5538. Remember, you can Trust First Response for when you need Emergency Help Now.