Storm season is here! 5 tips to safeguard your home and family

Severe storms have been passing through our states, and weather forecasters are predicting an unusually stormy spring to continue across the Midwest. Here are some measures you can take to protect your family and property when a tornado or severe storm strikes:
Maintain your landscaping. Use shredded bark instead of gravel or rock. This helps reduce damage from flying debris that can damage windows, siding, and automobiles. Remove weak branches or trees that could fall on your house.
Build an emergency kit. Use a large plastic tote to store a flashlight and batteries, first-aid supplies, portable weather radio, cash, clothing, blankets, extra keys, work gloves, a jug of water, and non-perishable food. Every few months, remember to replace items no longer usable. Store your kit in a safe place such as your basement.
Create a home inventory. Maintain a record of your belongings in your home and with an online program. In the event of damage from a severe storm, an inventory helps you during the claims process. Prevention ConnectionSM, our online safety resource, is packed with useful information, including www.knowyourstuff.org, a free program for creating an online home inventory.

When a storm approaches

Secure outdoor items. Move your lawn furniture, ornaments, and other objects to a safe place, like a garage or shed, when a high wind or tornado watch is issued. A tornado watch means the weather is favorable for storms to produce tornados. However, if a tornado warning is issued, move immediately to a designated shelter, such as your basement, or a small interior room without windows, such as a bathroom. A warning indicates a tornado is imminent.
Keep your windows closed. At one time, people thought opening windows during a tornado could help save a house. Now experts agree that you could make things worse by allowing wind and rain into your home.

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