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If you live in “Tornado Alley” you’ve seen the damage tornadoes and high winds can cause. In fact, if you live anywhere within the McCoy’s states, you’ve likely experienced high winds occasionally. These events can be very damaging to your property and dangerous for you and your family. However, there are steps you can take to get ready for a high-wind event — even one as severe as a tornado.
If at all possible, take shelter indoors during a high-wind event. If you live in a mobile home or a tiny home, it’s a good idea to plan to go to a neighbor or even a public building if there’s a high wind warning. The sturdier the structure, the safer you will be.
That’s why some people opt to build safe rooms in their homes. If properly constructed, these rooms can provide near total protection in the event of a high wind event or a tornado. It’s easiest and most cost effective to construct a safe room or storm shelter during a new build, but some existing homes can be retrofitted.
Whether it's a new build or a retrofit, the primary concern is the foundation, which must be reinforced to bear the dead load of the safe room walls, roof, and reinforced door. To be ready in case of an emergency, keep your storm shelter well stocked. You can find out what you need for an emergency readiness kit in this article.
There are three main types of safe room/ storm shelters that can withstand sustained winds or wind gusts up to 250 miles per hour. These strong winds can cause extensive damage to nearby structures.
If constructing a safe room to shelter your family from damaging winds or a tornado is an option, refer to FEMA’s guidelines for design and construction.
If a safe room/storm shelter is not a good option for you, there are many other ways you can prepare your home and family for a high wind speed event.
Whether you’ve had time to prep your home or not, the most important thing you can do is get to shelter. Take shelter indoors on the first floor of your home in a windowless room like a bathroom or even a closet. Go to the basement if you have one. If there are no windowless rooms, pull down blinds and draw curtains to help protect from broken glass and stay in the center of the room.
If time permits:
Most of the McCoy’s states fall in tornado regions three and four, so it’s very likely high winds will be an issue at one time or another. The best way to be prepared is to ensure your family knows what a tornado siren sounds like and where to take shelter.
Weigh the pros and cons of a storm shelter and/or storm shutters to determine if this investment is right for you. Perform regular maintenance on your home’s exterior to make sure your siding and shingles are firmly attached. Make it a habit to clear debris from your yard and to remove or prune damaged trees. Find what you need at McCoy’s including Hardie® siding and panels, LP® SmartSide®, ZIP System® sheathing, Owens Corning® roofing shingles, and a wide range of concrete, rebar, and concrete blocks.