Home, Safety, Tips

Home Safety Tips from Farmers Union Insurance Agency

Home Safety Tips from Farmers Union Insurance Agency

There are a number of great home safety tips that every homeowner should consider, one of which is ensuring proper home insurance coverage.  Unfortunately, too many homeowners overlook the little things that can keep them from reducing their risk of injury.  Here are some of the best home safety tips to consider when it comes to protection and value.  Connect with a Farmers Union Insurance Agent in your area HERE to get a free, comprehensive quote!

Electricity is Nothing to Play With

One of the risks to a homeowner is improperly wired electrical connections.  Improper electrical connections have the potential to start a fire that can do significant damage to a home.  With that in mind, there are ways that homeowners can reduce their risks and protect themselves.  They should make sure their electrical wiring and connections are all taken care of so they can have peace of mind.  This is typically done through a home inspection before the buyer purchases the property.  Additionally, sometimes problems appear later even if there were no issues during the inspection.

By staying aware of that, homeowners can keep an eye out for electrical problems that could post a risk.  These include lights flickering, breakers tripping, crackling or static types of sounds, and appliances shorting out or otherwise failing.  Any time those kinds of things start to happen, homeowners need to pay close attention.  They will also want to reach out to a qualified electrician in order to make sure they are protected.

Reducing the Risk of Fire

Fire is a very real risk for homeowners.  One of the mot significant causes of fire is electrical problems.  But there are may other ways a fire could start and injure someone.  Cooking fires, for example, are problematic and relatively common.  Most of these fires and burns are small, but sometimes they can get out of hand and cause serious injuries and damage to a home.  Having smoke alarms that work properly, along with fire extinguishers, are good ways to reduce the chances of being injured in a fire.

Homeowners will also want to take a look at the outside of their home, and if there is a lot of brush, trees, and other flammable things close by that can be a problem.  Keeping brush and flammable materials (such as a stack of firewood) away from the sides of the house is a good choice to reduce risk.  It may not solve all of the problems, but it will help make things safer for the homeowner.

Other Potential Home Safety Issues Homeowners Can Face

Fire and electrical problems are far from the only home safety issues a homeowner can face.  They will also want to consider things like stairs that don’t have proper railings, loose boards on decks, porches, and patios, uneven or broken concrete walkways, poorly lit areas, and anything that is sharp or pointed.  By being diligent and careful, homeowners can lower the risk of damage or injury significantly.

That way, a homeowner can enjoy their home and appreciate all it has to offer, while having a far lower chance of getting hurt.  Feeling safe in their own home goes a long way toward a happy life for any homeowner.  It provides peace of mind, which is something that really can’t be bought and that a homeowner certainly can’t put a price on.

Remember, you can find your local FUIA Agent by clicking HERE, and they will provide you with a free, comprehensive quote on your Homeowners insurance, and any other insurance quote you might need!

Thanks to Kris Lindahl, REALTOR® CRS CLHMS, RE/MAX Results, Blaine, MN for contributing to the content of this blog regarding Home Safety Tips.  You can find his website HERE.

car accident

6 Steps to Take After Car Accidents from Farmers Union Insurance Agency

Car accidents happen, and they’re always stressful and inconvenient.  Even if you’re a safe driver, it makes sense to plan ahead and know how to respond, in case a fender bender or more serious collision occurs.  Follow these steps from Farmers Union Insurance Agency‘s company partner, Secura Insurance, to stay safe and help ensure a smooth, efficient resolution.

  1.  Check for injuries and call an ambulance if needed.
  2.  If safe, move the cars out of traffic.
  3.  Call the police and request an accident report.
  4.  Exchange information with the other driver.
  5.  Get name, address, driver’s license number and insurance provider.  Document the scene.  Take pictures.  Sketch a diagram of the accident and record vehicle info (make, damage, license plate) for all vehicles involved.
  6.  Notify your insurance agent within 24 hours.

Reacting to car accidents: The do’s and don’ts

You’re probably feeling flustered and anxious following your car accident.  It goes without saying, but take a few breaths and try to stay calm.  Here are a few extra do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.

  • Do: Turn on your hazards and use glow sticks or reflective warning triangles for safety.
  • Do: Ask witnesses what they saw, and get their names and numbers if possible.
  • Don’t: Move someone who’s injured unless absolutely necessary.
  • Don’t: Sign anything unless it’s for a police officer or your insurance agent.
  • Don’t: Leave the scene until you have approval from the investigating officer.
  • Don’t: Talk to a representative from the other insurance company.  Ask them to call your insurer to arrange an interview.

What to say instead of “I’m sorry” after car accidents

Car accidents can be frightening or unnerving situations.  Your adrenaline is flowing and you may feel the impulse to apologize, even if the accident wasn’t your fault.  Avoid the temptation.  Keep calm and try not to place blame or accept it until the police arrive.  At that point, give the officer an honest review of what happened.  Here are a few phrases to use instead of that knee-jerk apology:

  • Is everyone okay?
  • Let’s call the police and start exchanging information.
  • I know you’re upset.  I’m upset too.
  • I hear you.  I understand you’re frustrated.
  • Let’s just save the “what happened” until the police get here.
  • Let’s just focus on everyone’s safety right now.
  • I need some time to calm down before we discuss this.  Let’s wait for the police.

Remember to call your Farmers Union Insurance Agent following car accidents so they can get the claim processed with your insurance carrier.

Thanks to company partner Secura Insurance for contributing to the content of this blog.

 

Holiday Safety

Holiday Safety Tips from Farmers Union Insurance Agency

Candles, lights and decorations are an essential part of the holiday season.  Unfortunately, they also increase the risk of fire and injury.  Each year fires occurring during the holiday season injure nearly 3,000 individuals and cause over $900 million in damage, according to figures from the U.S. Fire Administration.  We at Farmers Union Insurance Agency want to remind you of some simple holiday safety tips you can do to keep your family safe this holiday season.

To ensure a safe and healthy holiday season, the Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends following these important safety tips:

Christmas Trees

  • Pick out a freshly cut Christmas tree – one that is too dry can easily catch fire.  Trim at least one inch from the bottom of the tree; this will increase the tree’s ability to absorb water.  Live trees need a lot of water, so check the water level and refill often.
  • Place the tree in a secure stand designed to hold the weight of the tree.  Never place a Christmas tree near a heat source such as a fireplace, radiator or stove.  Do not use candles to decorate a tree.  And never go near a tree with an open flame such as a candle, lighter, or matches.
  • Dispose of the tree when it becomes dry, or when the needles begin to fall off in large quantities.  Never burn old trees or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove.  Instead, take it to a recycling center or have it removed by a community pick-up service.
  • If you buy an artificial tree, make sure that it is made of fire-resistant material.

Decorations and Lights

  • Do not overload electrical sockets by plugging too many cords into a single outlet.  Always unplug holiday lights when no one is home or when everyone goes to sleep for the evening.  Inspect old light strands for any cracks, frayed edges or bare spots.  Throw out any damaged cords.
  • When decorating a tree with lights, fasten them securely to the tree and make sure that no bulbs come in contact with needles or branches.  Check wires regularly.  If they become warm, unplug the lights immediately.
  • Never use indoor lights outside.  They are not designed to withstand the elements and if they get wet, they can cause an electric shock.  Remove outdoor lighting as soon as the season is over.  Even specially-created outdoor decorations are not designed to withstand prolonged exposure to the elements.

Fireplaces

  • Never burn wrapping paper in the fireplace.  This may release fire-starting embers or produce a buildup of dangerous chemical fumes in your home.

Entertaining

  • If you entertain guests who smoke, provide large ashtrays and check for cigarette butts in upholstered furniture before going to bed.  Or, make your smoking guests smoke outside and make sure all butts are extinguished at the end of the night.  Cigarette fires are a leading cause of fire fatalities in homes.
  • Do not leave the stove unattended when cooking.  In the excitement of entertaining, it is easy to forget something on the stove and let it burn, causing a potential fire hazard.

Children and Pets

  • Place all ornaments and candles out of reach of small children and pets.  Small or breakable ornaments can be easily knocked down, which can result in cuts or choking.  Curious children and playful pets can topple a tree in seconds and can cause serious injury.
  • Beware of toxic decorations.  Mistletoe and holly berries may be poisonous if more than a few are swallowed.  Old tinsel may contain lead so discard old tinsel if you are not sure of its composition.  Fire salts (which make a multi-colored effect when thrown on burning wood) contain heavy metals, which if swallowed may cause serious gastrointestinal problems and vomiting.

Candles

  • Check candles frequently to make sure they do not burn down too far or drip hot wax.  Make sure candles are placed in sturdy, non-combustible holders away from decorations and other burnable materials.
  • Clean and trim candle wicks to 1/8″ to 1/4″ before lighting.  Long or crooked wicks cause uneven burning and dripping.  Candles should be placed at least three inches apart so they do not melt onto one another.  Keep candles free of wick trimmings, matches or any flammable material that might ignite.
  • Never leave candles burning unattended.  Remember to snuff out all candles when leaving a room or before going to sleep.

Give your family the priceless gift of safety this holiday season.  Prepare for the New Year by getting into good safety habits and teaching your family members what to do in a fire or other emergency.  For more information on making your home safer, contact the United States Fire Administration or the Candle Fire Safety Association.

From the Staff and Agents of Farmers Union Insurance Agency, we wish you and yours a safe and happy Holiday season!

 

grain bin

Grain Bin Suffocation Prevention from Farmers Union Insurance Agency

The tragedy makes news headlines repeatedly: People are entrapped in a grain bin with only seconds to react before they are engulfed and suffocated.

A death in the work force of a farm operation can be devastating both to the family and the operation.  We at Farmers Union Insurance Agency believe prevention and education are key in these situations, and have provided you this information from our company partner, Secura Insurance.

How Grain Bins Trap People

Scenario 1: A worker enters the top of a grain bin, and the auger begins running to unload the grain.

  • Within five seconds the worker becomes trapped.
  • The flowing grain behaves like quick sand, pulling the worker down.
  • The worker is completely covered by grain after 22 seconds.

Scenario 2: Unbeknownst to him, a worker stands on a “bridge” formed by clumped grain due to moisture or mold.

  • The worker becomes buried when the pocket of space under the firm layer of grain collapses.
  • The worker is trapped when grain unloading begins.

Scenario 3: A worker standing on the floor is attempting to dislodge grain that’s accumulated on the side of the bin.

  • The pile of grain collapses onto the worker.

Scenario 4: Without warning, a bin can develop hazardous atmosphere or a lack of oxygen.

Preventing Grain Bin Suffocation

Considering it’s one of the top causes of farm deaths, it’s hard to believe grain storage bin suffocation is easily preventable.  But it is, as long as employers:

  1. Turn off and disconnect, lockout and tag, or block off all mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, and pneumatic equipment that presents a danger.  Do not empty or move grain into or out of the bin while workers are inside.
  2. Do not allow walking down grain to make it flow.
  3. Prohibit entry onto or below a bridging condition, or where grain is built up on the side of the bin.
  4. Provide workers entering a bin from a level at or above stored grain, or walking or standing on stored grain with a body harness connected to a lifeline or boatswain’s chair.  Make sure the lifeline is long enough to prevent a worker from sinking more than waist-deep in grain.
  5. Give workers rescue equipment specifically for rescue from the bin.
  6. Station an observer who is equipped to provide assistance and perform a rescue outside the bin.  Make sure the observer and workers who enter the bin maintain communication.
  7. Test the air within a bin for oxygen content and the presence of hazardous gases before entering.
  8. Obtain a permit each time a worker enters a bin.  The exception is if the employer will be present during the entire operation.  The permit must certify that before workers enter the bin, they met the precautions above.

This information was provided by the U.S. Department of Labor Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  

Reposted from Secura’s Blog, originally found here.  You can find more grain bin safety resources at Secura’s Prevention Connection.

You can find a local Farmers Union Insurance Agent to receive a comprehensive quote on your farm operations in your area here.

Hunting for Hunting Insurance? Call Your Local FUIA Agent for Coverage!

Fall in Minnesota means hunting season.  Hunting is a part of life in rural America, and there are a host of clubs, organizations and businesses that cater to hunters, archers, and gun enthusiasts.

Businesses: Gun Ranges, Hunting Clubs, and Guide Services

These types of businesses are a great way to combine your personal passion with a profitable profession.  As you grow your business, you’ll have the same concerns as any small business owner, plus some additional things to consider like whether the activities of your members are covered under your policy. Talk to one of our experienced Independent Agents to make sure you are properly protected.  Many of them are hunting enthusiasts themselves!

Clubs

Even if your club is a non-profit organization rather than a for-profit business, you could be held liable for injuries, property damage, and even membership discrimination.  You will want to consider the best type of coverage for the group so you can focus on what you love, rather than dealing with liability issues.

Special Events: Sponsored Shoots & Tournaments

If you are organizing an event, don’t forget to get short-term event coverage for any added liability. Sponsored shoots, tournaments, fundraisers, and social outings have their own unique risks that you will want to make sure you have coverage for.

For more information about insurance for your hunting and shooting endeavors, visit our website at mnfuia.com to find an Agent in your area that can help you find coverage.

Remember to Teach Gun Safety

Approximately half of all U.S. homes have guns. And, according to a study published in a Pediatrics journal, nearly 1.7 million kids live in a home where firearms are kept loaded and unsecured.

The Matthew Bellamy Project ships free gun locks to anyone who requests them. Free gun locks may also be available from your local law enforcement agency in partnership with Project ChildSafe.

Visit company partner Secura’s blog for more information about gun safety and other helpful safety tips.

Thanks to Secura Insurance Company for contributing to the content of this blog. Farmers Union Insurance Agency is proud to be a Premier Partner with Secura.

5 Reasons to Work with an Independent Insurance Agent – from Your Local Insurance Agent, MN

Catchy ads and cut-rate pricing may appeal to some, but they can’t replace the value of working with an experienced independent Agent.  The key words when choosing an Agent are “experienced” and “independent.”

An independent Agent can help you understand your coverage needs and help you find an insurance company that meets them.  A captive Agent only has one company’s coverage options to offer.  The shopping experience is significantly different, and options are limited.

The additional perspective of working with an independent Agent gives people seeking insurance a definite advantage.  Here are five reasons to work with an independent Agent.

Find your local FUIA Agent HERE.

  • Experience – Insurance can be confusing, and it’s tough to know which carriers are good to work with, especially when filing a claim.  An independent Agent has experience working with multiple carriers and can offer greater perspective that a captive Agent cannot.
  • Comparison Shopping – You can compare carriers and products to help you find the most effective coverage at the best value.  Because an independent Agent has access to multiple insurance companies, they are able to offer you competitive pricing and quality service.
  • Assistance – Comparing apples and oranges is never easy.  Each insurance company offers different coverage options, and an independent Agent can help you sort out which are best suited to your needs.
  • Customized Coverage – Do you need a combination of coverages for your home or business?  Independent Agents understand the nuances of policies and coverage options from each of their carriers and can leverage these products to your advantage.
  • Navigating Claims – Captive Agents are obligated to watch their insurance company’s bottom line.  Independent Agents are free to represent you, their client, and advocate on your behalf after filing a claim.

If you’re looking for insurance, speak to an independent Agent about your needs.  It will be time well spent.  Let us help you find an independent Farmers Union Insurance Agent in your area. 

Find out more about Farmers Union Insurance Agency, the companies we represent, and the insurance products we offer on our website.  Thanks to our company partner, Secura Insurance Company, for contributing to the content of this blog.

Storm Damage Prevention Tips from Farmers Union Insurance Agency

Protect Yourself Before the Storm Hits: Weather Tips from Your Minnesota Insurance Agent

Here at Farmers Union Insurance Agency, we believe in helping you understand your policy better, so you know what to expect when a storm hits and for what you will be held responsible.  Many homeowners – especially new homeowners – don’t give a lot of thought to their insurance coverage until the wind picks up.  Spend a few minutes reviewing these common causes of damage and how you can help protect your home from Mother Nature’s worst… in Minnesota and across the country.

Wind

Tornadoes are devastating, of course, but gusty days and straight-line winds actually account for more claims than confirmed tornadoes.  Make sure your home is in good repair and your landscaping is kept up to prevent damage.  Remove weak branches before they fall on the house, use bark instead of landscaping rock that can damage windows, and store lawn furniture safely out of the wind when it’s not in use.

Hail

Large or small, hail can leave a mark.  Whether your car is parked outside during a storm or your roof takes a beating, inspect your property after a hail storm.  If you notice dents or cracks, you’ll want to call your Farmers Union Insurance Agent immediately.

Water

It’s important to understand that there’s a difference between water backup and flood damage.  Water backup is when water and other materials come into your home through the sump pump, sewers, drains or related equipment.  Many home insurance policies provide water backup coverage, but will limit how much could be paid.  Higher limits might be available at an increased cost.

Learn more about safeguarding your home from storms here.

The majority of homeowner’s insurance policies do not protect you in case of flood damage.  With flooding, water can enter through windows, doors, and cracks in the foundation.  If you live in a flood zone or have concerns about flooding, as your local Farmers Union Insurance Agent whether you have the proper coverage.

Home Inventory

You can’t control the weather, but you can be prepared when a storm strikes.  One of the best things you can do as a homeowner is to prepare a record of your belongings before a storm hits.  A home inventory is a listing of your belongings that you can reference if you have to make a claim.  You may want to store your inventory online, so you can access it from anywhere, any time.  You can also download an app for that now!

Keep your home inventory updated as you make improvements to your property.  Review it with your Farmers Union Insurance Agent because it can help you identify property that may need additional coverage, such as antiques, specialized equipment, or a new patio or deck.

If you’re worried about the possibility of storm damage, speak with your Farmers Union Insurance Agent, or check out more Prevention Connection topics from our 2017 Premier company partner, SECURA Insurance.

Thanks to SECURA for contributing to the content of this blog.

 

What You Need to Know About Car Rental Insurance from Farmers Union Insurance Agency, St. Paul, MN

Are you looking into car rental for your summer vacation?  Review your Auto insurance coverage before you go.  Don’t wait until you reach the car rental counter, where you might feel pressured to make a quick decision and buy extra coverage.  Do your homework ahead of time and figure out if you need the car rental company’s insurance.

Does My Car Insurance Cover Rental Cars?

Your Auto insurance typically provides the same kind of coverage offered by the car rental company.  Some Auto policies, for example, include liability coverage for rental cars.  If you have physical damage as part of your coverage, that will apply to your rental as well.

If you have collision coverage or comprehensive coverage, you’ve probably covered most of your bases.  But car rental companies have a way of adding extra fees that go beyond traditional coverage.  Before traveling, check your policy and call your local Farmers Union Insurance Agent to make sure you understand what’s covered on your Auto policy and what isn’t.  Find out if your policy:

  1.  Extends to rental cars
  2. Covers car rental company fees, such as administrative fees, towing, and loss of use while the vehicle is being repaired
  3. Covers diminished value claims
  4. Covers the rental car’s full value in case the car is totaled
  5. Includes coverage if the car is being valet parked or in the custody of a valet service

If you have a coverage gap, talk to your Farmers Union Insurance Agent about how you can stay protected on your trip.

Find Out What Your Credit Card Covers

Some credit cards offer car rental insurance when you pay with your credit card.  This coverage is typically “secondary insurance,” which means it only covers what your primary Auto insurance policy doesn’t cover.  Terms vary by issuer, but typically include coverage for physical damage and theft… but not injury, liability, diminished value, or damage to other vehicles.

Coverage only applies if you decline the rental car company’s insurance and may exclude certain vehicles such as large vans, trucks, and expensive cars.  Coverage may also be excluded in some popular tropical destinations, like Jamaica.

Consider the car rental company’s insurance if:

  • You’re traveling outside the U.S.
  • You’re renting an RV, large van, truck, or specialty car
  • Your primary Auto insurance coverage doesn’t include diminished value or other special conditions listed above.

Be aware you may need to show proof of insurance at the car rental counter.  If you don’t have it, the car rental agency may require that you purchase the insurance they offer before renting you the vehicle.  Rules are different when traveling for business or using a business credit card.  Once again, check with your Farmers Union Insurance Agent to better understand your benefits.

Thanks to our company partner, Secura Insurance, for the content of this blog.  See more helpful insurance insights from Secura Insurance’s blog here, and talk to your local Farmers Union Insurance Agent about insurance coverage with Secura Insurance.

Preventing Ticks On Pets


At Farmers Union Insurance Agency, our pets are part of the family!  Here are some tips to help protect your furry family members from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dogs are very susceptible to tick bites and tickborne diseases.  Vaccines are not available for all the tickborne diseases that dogs can get, and they don’t keep the dogs from bringing ticks into your home.  For these reasons, it’s important to use a tick preventative product on your dog.

Tick bites on dogs may be hard to detect.  Signs of tickborne disease may not appear for 7-21 days or longer after a tick bite, so watch your dog closely for changes in behavior or appetite if you suspect that your pet has been bitten by a tick.

To reduce the chances that a tick will transmit disease to you or your pets:

  • Check your pets for ticks daily, especially after they spend time outdoors.
  • If you find a tick on your dog, remove it right away.
  • Ask your veterinarian to conduct a tick check at each exam.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about tickborne diseases in your area.
  • Reduce tick habitat in your yard.
  • Talk with your veterinarian about using tick preventatives on your pet.

Note: Cats are extremely sensitive to a variety of chemicals.  Do not apply any insect acaricides or repellents to your cats without first consulting your veterinarian!

Kill Ticks on Dogs

A pesticide product that kills ticks is known as an acaricide.  Acaricides that can be used on dogs include dusts, impregnated collars, sprays, or topical treatments.  Some acaricides kill the tick on contact.  Others may be absorbed into the bloodstream of a dog and kill ticks that attach and feed.

Pros:

  • Helps to reduce the number of ticks in the environment
  • Prevents tickborne disease

Cons:

  • Tick bites can cause a painful wound and may become infected.
  • When bitten, a dog may become infected with a number of diseases.  This depends on the type of tick, which diseases it is carrying (if any), and how quickly a product kills the feeding tick.

Examples of topically applied products (active ingredients):

  • Fipronil
  • Pyrethroids (permethrin, etc.)
  • Amitraz

Repel Ticks on Dogs

A repellant product may prevent the tick from coming into contact with an animal at all or have anti-feeding effects once the tick comes into contact with the chemical, thus preventing a bite.

Pros:

  • Prevents bit wounds and possible resulting infections
  • Prevents tickborne disease

Cons:

  • Will not reduce the number of ticks in the environment (doesn’t kill ticks)

Examples of topically applied products (active ingredients):

  • Pyrethroids (permethrin, etc.)

 


Additional Resources:

  • Further tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for avoiding ticks on humans can be found HERE.
  • Tips for preventing ticks in your yard can be found HERE.
  • Tips for removing a tick can be found HERE.
  • Symptoms of tickborne illness in humans can be found HERE.

Reference to any commercial entity or product or service on this page should not be construed as an endorsement by Farmers Union Insurance Agency, its products, or its services.  Please consult your veterinarian for the best options for you and your pet’s well-being.

tornado safety

Tornado Safety Tips – Brought to You By Your Insurance Agent St. Paul, MN

Now that Spring is here, it is the perfect time to get prepared for the weather systems that can occur in the warmer months. In this blog post, we will explore Tornado safety tips.

Safety Tips Before a Tornado, Department of Homeland Security

  • Create an Emergency Kit:
    • Water -the rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days.
    • Food – must be non-perishable, enough for at least three daystornado safety
    • Battery Powered / Hand Crank Radio
    • First Aid Kit
    • A Flashlight plus extra batteries
    • A Whistle – so you can signal for help
    • Manual Can Opener
    • Wrench or Pliers – in order to turn off the utilities
  • Follow the weather pattern through the television or through a radio
  • Look for danger signs that could include:
    • Dark, often greenish sky
    • Large hail
    • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
    • Loud roar, similar to a freight train.
    • If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.

Safety Tips During a Tornado, Storm Prediction Center

  • In a house with a basement: Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some kind of sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.) and do not go under them. They may fall down through a weakened floor and crush you. Head protection, such as a helmet, can boost survivability also.
  • In a house with no basement, a dorm, or an apartment: Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail. A helmet can offer some protection against head injury.
  • In an office building, hospital, nursing home or skyscraper: Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building — away from glass and on the lowest floor possible. Then, crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly. Stay off the elevators; you could be trapped in them if the power is lost.
  • In a mobile home: Get out! Even if your home is tied down, it is not as safe as an underground shelter or permanent, sturdy building. Go to one of those shelters, or to a nearby permanent structure, using your tornado evacuation plan. Most tornadoes can destroy even tied-down mobile homes; it is best not to play the low odds that yours will make it. This mobile-home safety video from the State of Missouri may be useful in developing your plan.
  • At school: Follow the drill! Go to the interior hall or windowless room in an orderly way as you are told. Crouch low, head down andtornado safety protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.
  • In a car or truck: Vehicles are extremely risky in a tornado. There is no safe option when caught in a tornado in a car, just slightly less-dangerous ones. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Seek shelter in a sturdy building, or underground if possible. If you are caught by extreme winds or flying debris, park the car as quickly and safely as possible — out of the traffic lanes. Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat, or another cushion if possible. If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.
  • In the open outdoors: If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado.
  • In a shopping mall or large store: Do not panic. Watch for others. Move as quickly as possible to an interior bathroom, storage room or other small enclosed area, away from windows.
  • In a church or theater: Do not panic. If possible, move quickly but orderly to an interior bathroom or hallway, away from windows. Crouch face-down and protect your head with your arms. If there is no time to do that, get under the seats or pews, protecting your head with your arms or hands.

Safety Tips After a Tornado

  • Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.
  • Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.tornado safety
  • Watch out for debris and downed power lines.
  • If you are trapped, do not move about or kick up dust. Tap on a pipe or wall or use a whistle, if you have one, so that rescuers can locate you.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings and homes until local authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.
  • Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.
  • If your home is without power, use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns rather than candles to prevent accidental fires.