Tornado Anniversary Reminds North Texans to Be Prepared in the Event of Spring Storms

March 26, 2004

On the fourth anniversary of a devastating tornado that hit Fort Worth and parts of Arlington, Texas on March 28, 2000, there are lingering reminders of the effects of that storm.

For years, visitors to downtown Fort Worth had only to look up at the site of a storm-ravaged high-rise building to understand Mother Nature’s destructive power. That building is just now undergoing renovation efforts, and yet as residents enter another storm season, many Texans may be reportedly unprepared for another such disaster.

The spring storm season is here and many Texans are not prepared for storms that may occur, according to a survey recently conducted by Allstate Insurance Company.

Survey results show 84 percent of Americans say it is important to have a disaster plan, but less than half of these individuals have actually created a plan in the event they are affected by a natural disaster. Among those who have created a disaster plan, Allstate survey results show 71 percent of Americans have not identified the safest places to go in their home as part of their plan.

How damaging can spring storms be?

During the spring of 2003 Allstate Insurance Company responded to nine weather-related catastrophes in Texas where families saw their homes damaged or destroyed by weather events including tornadoes, straight-line winds, rain and hail.

Creating a plan…

Steps individuals can take to produce a storm preparedness plan

1. Find the safest place in a home to protect family members from an approaching storm and share this location with them. Stay away from windows. Most tornado-related injuries and deaths result from flying debris. Whenever possible, go to a basement or storm shelter. If there is no basement or storm shelter available, find a small room in the center of the home such as a closet or bathroom and try to use heavy furniture as additional shelter.

2. Teach family members the difference between weather watches and warnings and obey official warnings and advice regarding severe weather. A watch is used by the National Weather Service to alert the possibility of severe weather such as severe, damaging thunderstorms or tornadoes. A warning is issued when the severe weather is actually occurring. Once a warning has been issued, residents should pay close attention to weather developments and take shelter until the danger has passed.

3. Create an accurate, up-to-date home inventory before a storm strikes. Before severe weather damages or destroys a home, walk through each room of the house and create a list of everything owned. If possible, include video and pictures of each room with the
inventory. Store the home inventory outside of the home, for example in a bank safety deposit box.

4. Designate a family meeting spot in case a disaster strikes when family members are away from home. Designate two meeting spots, one right outside the home in case of a sudden emergency such as a fire, and one outside the neighborhood in case a disaster strikes when family members are away from home. Make sure everyone knows essential addresses and phone numbers.

5. Create a disaster supply kit for the family. A disaster supply kit, stored in the identified storm safe area of the house, should include a first aid kit, water, flashlights, battery-operated radio and extra batteries.

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