According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website, 1,200 tornadoes typically hit the U.S. each year, causing an estimated $4.9 billion in property claims and killing an average of 70 people a year.
Last year was one of the deadliest and active tornado seasons on record. NOAA reports a total of 1,691 tornadoes across the country in 2011 and an estimated 550 fatalities.
Having the proper insurance for a home, car, business and other property and valuables is essential in case of a tornado or other catastrophe, of course — but people’s safety comes first and foremost.
Here is some additional information for customers, along with safety tips from the Insurance Information Institute and the NOAA:
- Make sure you know what the warning signals sound like in your community and take cover immediately. Basements are best, but if that is not an option, the central part of a building, in a bathroom, closet, interior hallway or under a heavy piece of furniture, away from windows, is the next-best place. If one is available, a mattress can be used as additional protection.
- Anyone in a vehicle should leave it and head to the nearest ditch, face down, if no other facility is available.
- People inside mobile homes should get out of them and find shelter elsewhere. As with someone in a car, if no other shelter is available, they should lie in a ditch.
- Clubs, churches or members of other organized groups should conduct tornado-safety meetings. Those meetings should include provisions to get word out to elderly community members and others who may need help when tornado warnings are sounded.