An EF-2 or EF-3 tornado can have winds ranging from 111 mph to 165 mph. This is enough to level your house and crush your dreams faster than you can read this sentence.
According to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), building codes in areas not prone to hurricanes only meet minimum life safety standards and are made to withstand winds less than 110 mph. Houses built to these codes will struggle to provide protection against even weak tornados.
A video from the IBHS simulates the effects of an EF-2 or EF-3 tornado on two houses. One is built to codes for areas that are not affected by hurricanes, and one is built to IBHS Fortified standards for protection against stronger winds.
Take a look at this video. Which house do you want to live in?
Tips from the IBHS to improve the safety of your houseProtect your family - install a safe room: A properly built safe room can withstand the impact of a 15-pound 2"x4" traveling at 100 mph and handle the forces of 250 mph winds.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has vast information about safe rooms, including how to install one in your home.
Protect your home - build to IBHS Fortified standards: These standards will provide better protection for approximately 90 percent of tornado affected areas. However, building to these standards is not a substitute for a safe room.
The IBHS recommends creating a safe room first and then improving the strength of the home through sheathing walls, and reinforcing roof-wall connections and wall-foundation connections. The safe room provides safety for anyone in the house. Improving the strength of the home's structure will help decrease property damage caused by a tornado.
Keep in mind that houses are not designed to withstand stronger wind forces associated with EF-3, EF-4, or EF-5 tornados. The National Climactic Data Center (NCDC) states that 77 percent of tornados have wind speeds less than 110 mph, and the tornados that devastated Alabama and Missouri recently only account for one to two percent of tornados that affect the U.S. each year.
Do you have a safe room or IBHS Fortified house?