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While a tornado on the horizon is undeniably frightening, there are simple steps you and your family can take to lessen your risk during tornado season. While thunderstorms are much more predictable, the harder question to answer is: Are you ready for a tornado?
Southern states see the majority of tornado activity from March to May, while northern states typically experience peak tornado season from late spring to early summer, according to the experts at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). While you can’t totally tornado-proof your home, you can take prudent steps to lessen your risk.
Strengthening the connections between the roof and walls (by using straps, metal connections or steel clips) can help lessen damage to your home during a tornado.
If you don’t have permanent shutters for windows, consider window clips that can hold plywood in place. You’ll be happy to know that today’s homes are built to be energy efficient, using many different types of construction.
Some methods of construction that save energy – such as insulating concrete forms (ICFs) – also provide another benefit: protection.
Now that you have taken precautions to decrease damage to your home, where should you go if there is a tornado warning in your area?
An emergency preparedness kit, such as this one from the American Red Cross, is a key component of your family’s emergency plan.

It’s always wise to keep extra water and canned or non-perishable food on hand, but especially during tornado season. Take time to develop a family action plan that covers such important details as where you’ll meet if a storm occurs when family members are at work or school. With advance planning, a good family emergency plan and the safety tips above, you and your family will be better prepared for stormy weather this spring.
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The American Red Cross Emergency Smart Pack with Backpack puts five key components of emergency preparedness into one convenient package. Five packs contain essential supplies to protect against the weather, maintain hydration and nutrition, treat minor injuries, and signal for help. Includes tear-resistant, nylon backpack for grab-and-go access to all supplies, plus extra room for personal items. When an emergency strikes, be prepared at work or home with the Deluxe Emergency Preparedness Kit from the American Red Cross. The good news is that you and your family can be better prepared for storms, with the simple steps below. And, if you’re building a new home, you can also ask your builder to take measures during construction that will increase your home’s resistance to damage from high-wind events.

Be sure your door also has at least three hinges and a dead bolt that’s at least one-inch long. Texas Tech University’s Wind Science and Engineering Research Center conducted debris impact testing by launching 15-pound 2x4s at a variety of materials at a speed of more than 100 mph. If your home does not have such a space, go to the center of a room that is surrounded by other rooms, such as a closet in an interior hallway.
If you are building a new home, consider discussing the construction tips above with your builder – they can help create an even stronger new home.
While special effects in films such as “Twister” can be dramatized, the need to plan ahead for tornado season is real – and now is the time to do so.
Sliding glass doors should be made of impact-resistant material, such as laminated glass, plastic glazing, or a combination of both. The idea is to put as many walls between you and the outside – avoid windows, doors and outside walls. For garage doors that are more than eight feet wide, use metal or wood stiffeners for additional support.

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