How to Prepare for Tornadoes and Keep Your Family Safe

As a military family, we have lived in a number of places that have intense weather. When we lived in Utah it used to snow so bad you had to put chains on your tires. When we lived in Japan they had monsoon season where it would rain for weeks. During certain months those rainstorms turned to typhoons. We were in Japan for the Fukushima disaster. Thankfully we were on an island that wasn’t affected by the tsunami. It wasn’t until we moved to Arkansas in the middle of tornado alley that we had to actively prepare for tornadoes on a regular basis. Knowing what was coming at any time made knowing how to prepare for tornado season a top priority.

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 I treat preparing for tornado season as a two-fold approach. It is important to prepare before tornado season comes. However, it is equally important to prepare for each bout of bad weather to know that everything is in order should tragedy strike.
Below you will find tips and a free printable to help you prepare your house and your family for tornadoes. However, this information is useful in many natural disasters.
prepare for tornadoes

How to Prepare for Tornadoes Before the Storms Come

Preparing for tornado season before the storms come can relieve a lot of stress. When caught off guard by bad weather you will know that you are ready for whatever may come. The preparations before a storm include taking care of documents, taking care of your home, and taking care of your supplies.

Taking Care of Your Documents

A good way to prepare for a tornado before the storm comes is to ensure that your family’s important documents are safe. A water safe and fire-safe storage container is the best place to keep important documents. This can keep them safe in the event of flooding, fire, and much more. We use a locking safe for all of our important paperwork. ( This could include birth certificates, passports, car or home deeds, and even your marriage license.)

Taking Care of Your Home

Before the rain starts to fall it is important to take a quick look at your home. Is there anything that needs immediate attention? Perhaps you have a screen door that doesn’t quite close right. Maybe you have a tree with branches too close to your house or a power line. Taking the time to fix small things can save you a lot of headaches later.

Taking Care of Your Supplies

Many times bad storms can lead to power outages. Before the storms get to your neighborhood it is a good idea to stock up on items you may need if your power goes out. This can include snacks, distilled water, and even batteries.
If you have pets or a baby in the house be sure you have supplies on hand for them as well if you are unable to get to a store for a while. It is a good idea to keep a list of medications everyone takes as well. This way you will know that you can grab everything you need should you have to take cover for a while. If anyone in your house has medical equipment that relies on electricity you may want to look into a generator as well. 

Taking Care of your Family

It is important to think ahead before the storm season arrives to ensure that your family and your pets will be safe. If you have a child with autism it is a good idea to go over your storm procedure beforehand to alleviate any anxiety. It is also a good idea to put identifying markers on your house to let first responders know if you have pets in the home. You can pick these up from many fire departments or on Amazon. 

Another good intervention to make before storms show up at your door is to ensure that everyone in the house has the ability to call 911. Weather such as tornados or flash flooding can be dangerous to anyone. This includes the first responders who may be out looking for you after a storm hits. It is important to make things easier and safer on you and them by having a phone available to alert authorities of your location and situation.

prepare for tornadoes

How to Prepare for Tornadoes When Storms are Coming

If you have taken the time to prepare for tornado season before the storms come you will have less to do when the storms arrive. However, some things can only be done when you know trouble may be on its way. It is a good idea to have a checklist available to be sure that everything gets done in the event of bad weather. Often you will have only minutes to make sure everything is in order once the warnings are issued for your area. 

Preparing your Family

Go over your safety plan with everyone in your family so that they know the role they need to play in case of an emergency. In our house, everyone has an animal they are responsible for. On one recent tornado, we had all of our cats, dogs, and kids in the bathroom during a tornado warning. We even had two guinea pigs in the bathtub for safety. In our house, even if you’re furry you’re a part of the family. However, none of this could have been accomplished in time unless everyone knew what animal they needed to get to safety. 
It is important to make sure everyone is safe first and foremost. If there is time a designated adult can grab snacks, comfort items, and medications if needed.

Preparing your home

It is important to make sure that you have a weather radio and a good flashlight on hand to stay alert to the changing weather patterns. It is also a good idea to be sure that you have a good supply of batteries for both. TV service often goes out during windy storms and the radio may become your own way of knowing what could be coming your way.
Always make a point to charge cell phones if you know a storm is coming your way. It may be difficult to make a call for help if your phone has a dead battery and you are unable to charge it because your power is out. It’s never a bad idea to have a few portable chargers available as well in case of extended power outages. 

Free Preparedness Printable

I find that during each tornado season we have lived through the best course of action is to be organized and prepared. I have come up with the following printable to help keep everything in order and to keep you safe during bad weather.

Things can get a bit hectic as you try to get to safety when a tornado comes. With the help of this free printable, you can have a list of everything you need to prepare for tornadoes in an orderly and safe fashion. 

prepare for tornadoes


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Do you know what to do to prepare for tornado season? Our tips and free printable checklist will have you on the right track for safety #tornadoseason #naturaldisaster #emergencypreparedness

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