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Know what to do when a tornado is coming

(April 11, 2013) –The horror of a tornado is that it can strike at a moment's notice, often leaving residents little time to react. That's why it is so very important that you and your family know what do well before any potential danger. Here are some tips from American Family Insurance.

When tornado conditions are right

Take shelter immediately, preferably in an in-home shelter or a designated area in your basement – away from windows or objects that could be picked up and thrown by wind. It's a good idea to stay tuned to TV or radio so you're aware when severe weather is possible. Listen for a tornado siren. Watch for a dark sky, hail, a loud roar and/or a funnel cloud. If you hear a warning or see signs a tornado could be coming your way, don't wait to see a funnel cloud to take shelter.

If you live in a mobile home, evacuate immediately - before the storm reaches your home. Tornadoes can overturn, throw or crush mobile homes. If you have ample time, go to the nearest community shelter, friend's home or other safe building.

During a tornado

Don't open windows. According to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, opening windows invites wind to enter and blow the house up like a balloon. Plus, it wastes valuable time you could use to seek shelter. A sturdy table or desk can provide you protection during the storm.

After a tornado

Don't use matches, lighters, appliances or light switches until you're sure there is no gas leak. If you smell gas, the National Center for Environmental Health recommends shutting off the gas supply using a valve near the meter. Also shut off electricity; sparks could ignite the gas. Turn off the water supply. Arrange furniture so chairs and beds are away from windows, mirrors and picture frames. Place heavy or large items on lower shelves.

Interested in learning more about how to protect yourself from tornadoes? American Family Insurance offers a free tornado warning alert service as well as tornado safety tips online.

Based in Madison, Wis., American Family Insurance offers auto insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance, health insurance, business and farm/ranch insurance in 19 states. American Family insurance is the nation's third-largest mutual property/casualty insurance company. Web:; Facebook:; Twitter: