Protecting Your Family During a Tornado


storm aware is common senseTHUNDER BAY – Over the past several weeks, there have been tornados in Northwestern Ontario. Thunder Bay has had several nights and days where we have lived up to our communities name in terms of thunder storms. Being prepared for weather incidents is an idea that only makes sense.

Severe weather such as tornadoes can strike suddenly and severely, providing residents and business owners with little notice to get to safety and protect their property. Leading insurer RSA wants to provide insight on steps that can be taken ahead of and during storm activity.

“Tornadoes can strike in a matter of moments but there are measures that can be taken ahead of time to protect yourself and mitigate damage to your home or business,” said Larry Lythgoe, RSA’s Regional Claims Director for the Ontario Region, “There are also steps you can take to make the insurance process hassle free if you are to experience damage.”

RSA recommends the following tornado-related advice for homeowners and businesses:

It’s most important that you protect yourself, your family and colleagues first:

  • Listen to radio reports, and follow instructions. If you are told to evacuate, follow the recommended path and don’t take shortcuts
  • Have a disaster safety kit, which should include a carry case for your pet and appropriate supplies (i.e. flashlight, bottled water, batteries, blanket)
  • In you are indoors, go to your basement or storm cellar. If there is no basement, go to a closet, a bathroom or underneath a staircase for shelter
  • Don’t waste time trying to open windows to relieve pressure – it’s dangerous and unlikely to help

What to do if your home or business has been damaged:

  • If you lose power, turn off your appliances to avoid a power surge when the power is restored
  • Use a flashlight, not a candle, to survey the damage
  • Check for any gas leaks and turn the valves off if one is found
  • Separate damaged property from undamaged property, and prepare an inventory of what has been lost or damaged and take photographs of damaged property
  • Keep receipts for any clean up costs incurred

Protecting your home or business in the future:

  • Your door is more likely to withstand the severe winds a tornado brings if it has three or more hinges and a deadbolt
  • Ensure trees and bushes are trimmed, and remove any dead branches that could fall on your home
  • Ask a qualified inspector to ensure that your garage door is strong enough to withstand high winds – adding wood or metal fasteners to strengthen the door
  • Roofs are highly susceptible to fierce winds. If you are replacing your roof, ensure that the new roofing cover and sheathing will resist high winds
  • Install storm shutters or impact resistant windows.
  • Put your vehicle, business equipment and other valuables in a garage or shelter if there is a tornado warning
  • Store copies of important documents, such as wills and insurance policies, offsite

For more information on protecting yourself, your home and your business during a tornado, visit the RSA website at

You can take the Emergency Management Ontario Challenge to see how aware you are at

For more information visit the Emergency Management Ontario website at

On we try to keep you abreast of weather incidents, but the best advise might be purchasing a weather radio that is battery operated. That way no matter what happens with the power, you can keep up on what is happening.

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