That brings us to the questions of the hour. How do you protect your home from tornados? Is there a way to tornado-proof your house? How much is it going to cost you?
Eye of the storm
While you may not be able to completely tornado-proof your home, you can take some steps to control the damage and, more importantly, keep your family safe.
When a tornado strikes, experts recommend taking shelter in a safe location, such as the basement of your building, away from windows and doors.
Meanwhile, for the home, the biggest risks come from flying debris. It is essential to protect the structure’s envelope, including doors, windows and the roof and keep debris from coming inside.
Can you tornado-proof your home?
Yes, you can. But it is going to cost you a fat sum. And ultimately, no amount of corning glass or reinforced concrete blocks is going to give you 100% security. Instead, the right thing to do is to focus your attention on a safe room.
Invest in an internal room, like a bathroom, office space or large closet, which can be fortified to withstand high-velocity winds. The room can be reinforced with concrete or steel or a combination of steel and wood.
While retrofitting a safe room inside the house can be expensive, for a lower price, you can actually build a new structure within the house, either in the basement or the garage.
According to estimates, a family-sized safe room that could double as storage or a closet could cost around $6,500 to $8,500.
In the backend, here are 6 ways you can protect your house on a budget.
1. Secure entry points
You’ll be surprised to know that the frames for your door are the weakest points, rather than the door itself. No matter how strong a steel door you use, if the frame is not anchored, the door could pull away during a storm and unleash havoc.
Doors and frames can be secured to the wall with a two-inch deadbolt lock and three hinges, reinforced with long screws. Keeping the framing secure is more cost-effective than strengthening the door itself.
2. Shield the garage door
The garage door is the single biggest threat to your home during a tornado. If the door gets ripped apart, it could cause heavy damage to the structure of your home.
The best strategy is to wood or metal plates behind the doors as added protection to brace them and make them stronger. This is a cheaper option than reinforcing the entire door itself.
3. Install impact-proof windows
Nothing is more dangerous in a storm than shattered glass as flying debris. So if you’re building a new house or remodeling, consider impact-resistant windows. While they do cost a buck, they can be customized and are worth it, especially since they guarantee better protection. An alternate is hurricane shutters.
4. Wind-proof your roofs
Secure roofs with hurricane clips. High-velocity winds can easily rip the roof off if it is secured only with roofing nails. The clips also help maintain roof integrity. The roof is one of the most essential layers of protection. Ensure it is wind-resistant and sturdy.
5. Protect valuables and documents
Store your most important documents and valuable possessions in a safety deposit box or safe. Make sure you can access them in case you have to evacuate to a shelter.
6. Stock up your shelter
Living in a tornado-prone area automatically means you have to be prepared at any time for the inevitable. Stock up with essentials such as batteries, flashlights, backup generators and water. Food too can be stored in the form of snacks and energy bars – anything that doesn’t need to be cooked.
Location is most essential. Ensure your shelter is in the safest spot in the house – most often that’s the basement or the center of the house.
Also, stock up cash – at least a few hundred dollars. Cash machines and credit card machines may not be functional after a storm blows over, especially if there is a power failure.In case you need to buy gasoline or groceries, the cash will come in handy if the cash registers don’t process your cards.
It is crucial to plan ahead. It will mitigate damage and help you be better prepared for disaster management.