8 things you need to know about tornado safety in Atlanta

It's important to be familiar with tornado safety.As April approaches, it’s a good time to go over severe weather safety – in particular, tornado safety. Chances are we’ll experience a good amount of severe weather alerts in the upcoming weeks. Tornadoes are terrifying vortexes of doom, it’s true, but we’ve got some tips that will help you stay safe and get ready for tornado season.

1. Take all weather warnings seriously.

Living in Georgia, we get our fair share of tornado watches and warnings. We may have grown a little desensitized to them, but it’s important to respect all weather warnings. Be smart and take measures to ensure your safety and that of your family.

Which actually brings us to our next tip…

2. Know the lingo.

When you get the alert from the National Weather Service that your area is under a weather advisory, you need to know what the various terms mean.

A tornado watch means that weather conditions are ideal for the formation of a tornado and that one could occur. Be prepared to take shelter and stay tuned to local news stations, radio, or emergency radio.

A tornado warning means that a tornado will either imminently occur or that one has touched down or been sighted. It’s time to get to your safe place as soon as possible.

Speaking of safe places…

3. Know where to go.

When a tornado is impending, there’s no time to deliberate. You need to know where to go. Take some time to figure out what your safe spots are at home, work, or school so that you’re ready to shelter if need be.

  • If you’re at home…
    • Go to the lowest level of your house and shelter in an interior room, such as a bathroom
    • Choose a room with no windows
    • Crawl under a strong table or desk if you can
  • If you’re at work or school…
    • Follow the institution’s emergency plan as instructed
    • Avoid open rooms with high, large roofs, such as cafeterias, auditoriums, and the like
    • Preferably move to the interior room on the lowest floor
    • Do not take an elevator – if the power goes out it could get stuck
  • If you’re outside…
    • Seek shelter in a sturdy building immediately
    • If you can’t get to a shelter on foot, drive there
      • Pull over if debris and strong wind become dangerous. You have to evaluate what the safest course of action will be for your circumstances. Depending on your situation, you can…
        • Stay in the car with your seatbelt on, keep the engine running, duck under the windows, and cover your neck and head with your hands.
        • Go to a place that’s lower than the roadway, such as a ditch, and lie down flat on the ground. Go far enough away from the car that it won’t get swept onto you.
      • Avoid bridges and overpasses, which are highly dangerous during tornadoes.

April is peak tornado month in Georgia.

4. Coach your family on what to do if there’s a tornado situation.

Make sure that everyone in your family knows the plan ahead of time and knows where to go, especially the kids. Tornado warnings can be scary for them, but if you talk about it and tell them how to stay safe ahead of time it can help.

5. Know how your community spreads the word about severe weather.

You need to be familiar with the way that your community will alert you to a tornado. Some cities have tornado sirens that will sound, others have text message alerts, some might use the radio. Know what to expect and stay tuned for news of the weather if the skies are looking dark.

6. Be aware of the danger signs.

Maybe you think that it would be kind of hard to miss the swirling vortex forming near you. But the thing is that tornadoes, which form when a rotating column of air reaches from a thundercloud to the ground, can be virtually invisible until they start picking up debris and dirt or a cloud forms in the funnel cloud.

So, you need to know the danger signs that mean you need to be on high alert for a tornado. Some things to watch for…

  • Dark clouds that are tinged green
  • Wall clouds
  • Debris or a cloud of dust
  • Hail
  • Loud, freight-train-like sounds
  • Funnel clouds

If you notice any of these things, you might need to take shelter. Nature – and tornadoes especially – are not to be trifled with. When in doubt, seek shelter and try to find out what the weather situation is for your area.

7. Before severe weather hits, prepare your home.

Since we’re heading into peak tornado time, it’s probably a good idea to take some time to get your home ready. To minimize damage to your house in high winds, you can…

  • Move outdoor furniture inside (chairs and tables can become projectiles in high winds)
  • Remove dead or diseased trees from your yard
  • Clean debris away
  • Strengthen your garage door (garage doors often take a beating during storms, and if your garage door gets damaged it can allow the winds into your home, causing the roof to tear off)

8. Make sure you have the home insurance you need.

Home insurance will usually cover damage from tornadoes, but it’s important to make sure that you have enough insurance to completely cover the cost of rebuilding your home and replace all of your belongings. Protect your house and your investment with the right insurance.

Tornadoes can often be unpredictable, but by being prepared you’ll know how to act quickly to keep you and your family safe. Have a tornado plan and go over it with your family. When it comes to natural disasters, preparation is key.

Want to save money on your home insurance? Our agents are here to help you get the best coverage at the best possible rate. We want to take the time to get to know you and your specific situation. To get your home insurance quotes, all you have to do is fill out our online form or give us a call today.