Haines-Ross Agencies, Inc.
Tornado truths that can help you stay safe
Tornadoes have caused severe and irreparable damage to tens of thousands of Americans and their property in recent years. On top of the physical and emotional fallout, many have also lost their lives as a direct result of a tornado.
Although you can never control the weather or the outcome of a destructive storm, there are steps you can take to help you and your family remain protected in the event of a tornado. Those steps of action begin with knowing fact from myth.
Here are a few tornado truths that could help keep you and those you love safe:
- When indoors, shut all windows and doors. Do not leave them open in an attempt to follow the mythical need to “pressurize” your home because the result would more likely be debris flying through the window and causing severe harm, or wind pressure working to lift the roof off the house from the inside.
If you are inside your home or other structure, retreat to the lowest level (a basement is ideal) or the room closest to the middle of the home or farthest from windows and doors. Do not seek a “corner” of the structure for your retreat; instead, go to the center-most point, away from windows and anything heavy that could fall on your head.
- If you’re outdoors, find the lowest spot, such as a ditch or dry river bed, and lie flat on your stomach, covering the back of your head with your hands. Do not follow the myth of seeking shelter underneath a bridge or overpass because it could collapse on top of you or large debris and winds could come rushing underneath and potentially sweep you up into the tornado itself.
- If you are in a vehicle, abandon the vehicle and try to find shelter in a structure or outdoors in a low place where you should lay stomach-down and cover the back of your head with your hands. Most importantly, do not attempt to drive away from the storm unless it’s very obviously far away and moving in the opposite direction.
- Do not take shelter near a road or foothill and expect the tornado to miss you. Some myths say that tornadoes will reverse their directions when nearing a road or foothill, but a tornado doesn’t discriminate and will keep on its path.
- Keep head gear handy. Head protection can be the number-one most important factor in remaining protected from flying debris—indoors or outdoors—so know where bike, football, batting, boxing and other helmets are in the house, and make them easily accessible.
- At Haines-Ross Agencies, Inc., we want to help you know the tornado truths that will help keep you and your family safe. For more tornado safety tips, visit the Storm Prediction Center’s comprehensive guide at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/safety.html
At Haines-Ross Agencies, Inc., we can work with you to make sure you've got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 248-476-7555 or send us a note at Contact We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what's important to you is protected!
Lightening Facts and Fallacies
The next time you see or hear a thunderstorm in your region, you might want to take a moment to review what you know about lightning safety. Strikes are most common during the summer thunderstorm season, but they can happen at any time of the year. And, a lot of less-than-accurate ideas about lightning have found a place in the popular imagination over the years. Here's a look at current knowledge.
- The safest place to be during a storm is typically indoors, but it is important to avoid anything that conducts electricity – metal, landline phones, appliances, wires, TV cables and plumbing.
- Automobiles can be safe havens thanks to the metal frame that diverts the electrical charge. Don't lean on the doors during a storm, though.
- Don't look for shelter under a tree. If lightning hits its branches, a "ground charge" could spread out in all directions.
- Don't lie flat on the ground. This makes you even more vulnerable to a ground charge.
- Don't crouch down. Once recommended, the "lightning crouch" has been discredited – it’s not likely any safer than standing if you’re outside during a storm. Instead, get inside or into a car.
Where Strikes Will Happen
- Contrary to folk wisdom, lightning does indeed strike twice in the same place. The best example is New York City's Empire State Building. It was once a lightning laboratory due to being struck scores of times every year.
- Lightning doesn't only strike the tallest objects. Although tall, pointy, isolated objects are often hit, lightning has been known to hit the ground instead of buildings and parking lots instead of telephone poles.
- The presence of metal doesn't affect where and if lightning will strike. Neither mountains nor trees contain metal, and both get struck. However, metal is a conductor of electricity, so avoid it during any storm.
- Strikes don't just happen in areas where rain is falling. Even if you’re miles away from a thunderstorm, lightning can still occur.
Finally, it's important to remember that you won't be electrocuted if you touch someone who has been struck – the human body doesn’t store electricity. So, by all means, give a lightning strike victim first aid. You might just save a life.
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