Spring weather can bring about severe storms. These storms can arise very quickly, so having a plan is crucial. Keep in mind that warning sirens are designed to be heard by those people outside, and may not be heard indoors. A NOAA weather radio can provide advanced warning of a storm or tornado. There are also apps for your smartphone that can alert you of severe weather, such as Onguard Weather Radio ($ 1.99) and SimpleWeather Alerts (Free). Check your app store for ratings and descriptions.
A watch means that conditions are present in which severe weather or a tornado could develop. A warning means that severe weather or a tornado has been sighted. In either case, action to protect yourself and your family is necessary. The sirens in Lake Zurich will sound continuously for three minutes to signal a Tornado Warning. They will sound again in five minutes to signal anyone who may not have been present for the first siren. There is no all clear signal. Information is available at volz.org, then go to Departments tab, Fire Rescue tab, Emergency Management tab, and click on Outdoor Warning Sirens. That page also has preparedness information.
In the event of a tornado:
In homes or small buildings, go to the northeast corner of a basement. If a basement is not available, go to the smallest, most-interior room on the lowest floor, such as a closet or bathroom. Cover yourself to protect your body from flying debris.
In schools, hospitals, factories or shopping centers, go to the smallest, most-interior rooms and hallways on the lowest floor. Stay away from glass enclosed places or areas with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums and warehouses. Crouch down and cover your head.
In high rise buildings, go to the smallest, most-interior rooms or hallways. Stay away from exterior walls and windows.
In cars or mobile homes, abandon them immediately!! Cars and mobile homes provide no protection from tornadic winds. If you are in either of those locations, leave them and go to a substantial structure or designated tornado shelter. Do not attempt to seek shelter beneath an overpass or bridge. They provide little or no shelter and have proved to be deadly options.
If caught in the open, lie flat in a culvert, ditch or depression and cover your head.
Lightning is a threat anywhere thunderstorms occur. If you hear thunder, it is time to take shelter. Lightning can travel miles form the storm cloud from which they originate.
- Avoid using the telephone, or other electrical appliances.
- Do not take a bath or shower, or stand near plumbing.
If caught outdoors:
- Seek shelter in a sturdy building. A hard-top automobile can also offer protection.
- If you are boating or swimming, get out of the water and move to a safe shelter on land.
- If you are in a wooded area, seek shelter under a thick growth of relatively small trees.
- If you feel your hair standing on end, squat with your head between your knees. Do not lie flat!
- Avoid isolated trees or other tall objects, water, fences, convertible cars, tractors and motorcycles.
As for protecting your Home, review your Homeowners Policy. Backup of Sewer and Sump is not automatically included with most Homeowners Policies. If you have a lower level, you should review this with your agent. This is one of the most frequent causes of a loss under the Homeowners Policy. The Backup of Sewer and Sump coverage will give you some protection from water entering the home through the sump pump well or the sewers. It will not provide coverage from floodwaters. For water that is deemed flood, a Flood Policy is necessary. A battery backup sump pump system is a good way to beef up your protection from a backup of sump pump loss.
You can also prevent damage to your home by clearing dead branches from trees near your structures and power lines. A tree limb can cause significant damage to your roof or cut off electricity to your home. Wind Damage, either through high winds pulling shingles off, to breaking tree limbs is another of the most frequent causes of Homeowners losses.
Be sure to notify your insurance carrier of any substantial changes in your home, such as a new roof or a newly finished basement or addition. A new roof can add a discount to your premium, while notification of improvements may assure you of the proper amount of replacement cost on your home. Keeping your policy up to date can help assure you receive the proper coverage in the event of a loss.
Finally, do an inventory of your belongings and keep it off premises. In the event of a loss, it is much easier to determine your claim when you have an inventory as a reference