How to Prepare for a Tornado
A tornado may occur anywhere at any time although some areas of the country are more prone than others. Tornadoes commonly occur in the central high plains of the United States to many eastern states from Colorado to Ohio and Georgia. Incredibly destructive storms have leveled buildings and towns outside this region, as well.
The Storm Prediction Center reports that between 1950 and 2012, 58,046 tornadoes were reported in the U.S. with approximately one-third (16,674) occurring in the 500,000 square mile region considered most likely to have a tornado events.
Moreover, while springtime is the most likely season for these destructive occurrences, some tornado activity has been reported in every month of the year.
What is a fully “Tornado-Proof” House?
For a home to be virtually 100% tornado-proof, it would not even look like a home. With foot-thick reinforced concrete walls or a steel armor-plated exterior anchored securely beneath the surface of the property, the structure would have no windows and a door with extra-strength framing and locking mechanisms.
While you would be able to boastfully claim that your house can withstand any force of nature, few neighbors would be envious.
Such a structure would be very costly as well. For these reasons, Tornado Resistant and Impact Resistant Glass Block Windows are ideal for a safe and secure home that can withstand harsh winds and flying debris.
Affordable Tornado Protection Measures: Windows, Doors, Garage Doors
Refinements in your home that would minimize the potential damage from a tornado while keeping the cost in a reasonable range are possible. Since most damage during a tornado is caused by flying debris, you should look first at the elements of your home that may be most vulnerable.
The areas of the potential vulnerability and least resistance are the windows, doors, and garage doors.
Doors and garage doors should have adequate strength and anchorage with additional metal or wood supports to provide higher resistance to tornado-level winds.
Standard glass windows are the most likely to succumb to tornado-force winds and flying objects. If windows are broken and blown out, the entire interior of the home may be damaged by encroaching winds and flying objects. If occupants are present, the risk of physical injury increases significantly.
Given the extent of potential damage and injury from broken windows and flying glass during a tornado, homeowners should take a hard look at installing impact-resistant windows.
GBA Architectural Products + Services offers world-class, Impact Resistant Windows that meet the highest standards of FEMA 361, Design and Construction Guidelines for Community Safe Rooms. The intent of FEMA 361 is to create design criteria to make safe rooms and shelters safe and debris-impact resistant.
Many Impact Resistant Windows are made with heavy-duty frames surrounding specially designed glass to protect the interior of the building. The glass is far less likely to break to allow the tornado forces to enter the “envelope” of the structure. Deflecting and keeping the forces from entering prevents the high-speed wind from creating an air pressure imbalance that can cause a wall or roof to blow off.
How Do Impact Resistant Windows Work?
Impact Resistant Windows protect the inside of the home while still admitting light. Moreover, unlike hurricanes, tornadoes do not offer enough warning for homeowners to close shutters or, more particularly, nail up plywood covers.
Impact-resistant windows owe much of their development history to the automobile industry. Much stronger than standard panes of glass, these windows are designed to resist impact, and shatter rather than break, thereby keeping the glass in one piece.
LightWise® Architectural Systems Tornado Resistant Glass Block Windows
LightWise Safety and Tornado Resistant Glass Block Windows from GBA are manufactured from laminated VISTABRIK® mounted in a steel frame and grid. The windows are fully transparent and are capable of withstanding air pressure testing of 309 positive psf and negative 413 psf. This amount of resistance equates to resisting a wind gust of 400 mph. The material is tested to have the strength equivalent to steel.
Features and Benefits of LightWise Tornado Resistant Glass Block Windows:
- Proven protection against air pressure anomalies and flying debris during tornadoes
- Highest standards for FEMA 361
- Factory assembled for consistencies
- Strength with beauty and clarity
- Enhanced security, also vandal-proof
- Protection from UV Rays
- Pre-assembled and easy to install
Protect Yourself and Family
Besides protecting the windows and other weak points of a home, there are other practical things to think about when it comes to tornadoes and other natural disasters.
Tornadoes provide almost no warning when they strike. You should have a well-planned strategy for protecting yourself and the inhabitants in case a tornado is approaching. Select a spot in the home, usually a reinforced doorway, to remain until the tornado passes.
Protect Your Valuables
If the tornado forces enter your home, anything that is exposed or protected with minimal security is likely to be swept away or ruined. Keep all valuable documents, jewelry, and other items locked in a secure safe that is strong enough to resist any wind or rain penetration. Often, when most needed, documents like identification, insurance papers, and other items are missing when the storm has passed.
GBA Architectural Products + Services
GBA Architectural Products + Services has built their clientele and lasting reputation on providing the highest quality glass architectural solutions for businesses and homes. Working with world-class manufacturers and suppliers, GBA has stylish, highly functional, and practical solutions for new construction or remodel upgrades for any building. Always durable and sustainable, GBA’s glass architectural products maintain the leading edge in the construction industry by providing attractive, economical options.
GBA provides state-of-the-art:
- Structural glass products for interior and exteriors
- Glass block and brick products from the leading designers and manufacturers
- LightWise system provides technologically advanced treatment for strength and beauty.
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