May 13, 2020
By Mark Paup

How to Prepare for Tornado Season in Iowa

Updated January 23, 2024

In Iowa, tornado season is destructive and challenging for households. The electricity can take several days to restore, so your family could be looking for several days without food, water, or communication.

For these reasons, it’s essential to prepare for the season properly, which you can by:

  • Develop an Emergency Plan
  • Practice with Your Household
  • Get Your Supplies and House Ready
  • Install a Whole-Home Generator

We’ll walk you through each step of the preparation process to better understand what, when, and how to get ready for Iowa’s tornado season.

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Develop an Emergency Plan

A person using a smartphone.
Enable social media notifications for your local weather channel to stay on top of severe weather.

You’ll want to develop a thorough emergency plan to handle contingencies during a tornado and minimize damage.

It should cover:
  • How you will receive emergency alerts and warnings
  • How will you get to the safe house
  • How will you communicate with loved ones and neighbors about where to meet
  • How will you transport pets
  • How will you safeguard documents
  • How will you handle insurance
  • Where do you plan on staying
  • What supplies will you need to make your home safer
  • What money will you allocate for emergencies

The first step to being prepared is knowing when a tornado is about to occur. You can check severe weather alerts, follow local news, NOAA Weather Radio, and sign up for weather social media notifications depending on where you live. Staying informed is crucial.

To help you develop the plan, make sure you get information from your household’s workplaces and schools on their emergency tornado plans so that you know where your loved ones are and how to get there if needed. Your children’s schools should provide what their emergency dismissal policies are in the event of a natural disaster. A plan is critical if your household isn’t home together when a tornado approaches.

Practice with Your Household

Developing a plan is half the battle. The other half is to test and practice your plan. Everybody in your household—including pets—should know what to do if a tornado is approaching.

Make sure everyone knows how tornado siren warnings work and whether your community has a warning system. You’ll want to run drills and then also teach your family how to administer basic first aid and CPR, how to use a fire extinguisher, and where to turn off your home’s water, gas, and electrical mains.

Get Your Supplies and House Ready

It’s a great idea to prepare a “go bag” ahead of time for your household so that you can just grab and go when needed. You can even store a duplicate bag in each car.

These go bags should include non-perishable foods, manual can openers, water, flashlights with extra batteries, portable chargers for your phone, medication, first aid kits, and other emergency supplies.

In your home, you’ll want to mark where the first aid kits and fire extinguishers are, as well as how to turn off utility switches and valves. They should be clear enough for a pre-teen or younger to understand how to use them.

You’ll want to buy weatherproof protection for your important documents and decide where you will store them to keep them safe.

When living in or near a tornado alley, take photos of the steps you have taken and of any valuable objects for insurance purposes. You’ll want to list possession values elsewhere. Another valuable insurance exercise is to ensure that your insurance covers both tornados and floods. Some insurance companies require you to get windstorm and flood coverage separate from your homeowner’s insurance.

Lastly, see if you can reinforce entry areas or close them with plywood to protect your home from flying debris during a tornado.

Install a Whole‑Home Generator

What if you don’t think your home will be in the direct path of a tornado but you’re still worried about potentially losing power? You can install a whole-home generator to act as a backup power source.

By sustaining power, your fridge will keep perishables safe, saving you money and the hassle of food or medicine replacements. Plus, your HVAC system and sump pumps will remain running, which can help you avoid heatwave problems and flooding.

Best of all, with a standby generator, your home will be a safe house for loved ones who live in the direct path of a tornado. They’ll be able to safely evacuate, cook hot meals, take showers, and reduce the stress of this natural disaster.

Receive a 5-Star Generator Installation Today. Contact Golden Rule.

During an emergency, having dependable backup power is vital. Keep your essential appliances powered on with a reliable whole-home generator installation from Golden Rule.

Throughout the Des Moines Metro area, we’ve built a reputation for providing dependable home services. And with over 5,000 5-star Google reviews, same-day service, 100% satisfaction guarantees, and 1-year labor warranties, it’s easy to see why. Call us at 515-393-4526 to learn more about our installation process.

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