When spring and summer arrive, it means one thing in the Midwest: tornado season. If you’ve lived here for a while, you’re likely no stranger to tornado season. Whether you’ve been here your whole life or you’re a recent transplant to the area, you still may not be aware of all you need to do to stay safe during a tornado. It only takes one mistake to endanger yourself and those around you. Before the next storm, check out these five tips to keep yourself and others safe. 

#1. Be storm aware 

During tornado season, check the weather on a regular basis. Your local meteorologist should let you know a few days in advance of any major storms that are on the horizon. Let your family know about any storms that are on the way so you can properly prepare

The day of the storm, keep an eye on how fast it is moving toward you. When it gets closer, unplug any major appliances to avoid power surges destroying them. Make sure all of your devices are charged so you can use them in the event of an emergency. If possible, use battery powered devices like radios to get weather updates to avoid the necessity of being near an outlet. Plus, if the power goes out, you’ll still have a source for your news. 


#2 Watch out inside your home 

After the storm has passed, the tornado may have caused serious damage to your home or community. It’s highly possible that your power may have gone out or your home may be experiencing flooding

Check your home for broken wires, signs of sparks or areas that look like they have shorted. Make note of these areas, but do not touch them or interfere with them in any way. Do not plug in any appliances or interact with outlets in any way. Wait until your power has been restored and your cooperative says it is okay to use power as usual. 


#3. Keep a look out for downed power lines 

It’s very possible there may be downed power lines after a storm in your neighborhood. If you notice any, notify your cooperative immediately. Whatever you do, do not interact with the downed power line in any way. If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not leave. Stay inside your vehicle until emergency services arrives and can safely remove you from the situation. Your cooperative will also send an emergency team who can help get the situation safely resolved.


#4 Get in touch with your cooperative 

After a storm, check with your local co-op for updates. If you don’t follow your cooperative on social media, take the time to find them and follow their pages just in case any important updates are posted there. Phone lines may be busy during a power outage, so be understanding that your call may not be answered immediately. 


#5. Get started on repairs 

If the storm damages your house in any way, it’s important to repair it in a timely manner. If your home experienced wind damage, a lightning strike or flooding, you may have sustained some serious electrical damages. Getting repairs sooner can prevent more serious issues like house fires caused by sparks. Contact a certified electrician to make repairs and avoid any DIY attempts at fixing your home, as home repairs can be incredibly dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. 

Find more outdoor safety tips!