Be prepared: Get the free Red Cross Tornado App

tonado-appHere in New England, tornadoes aren’t the norm — but we do have occurrences, as was seen in Revere this week, along with several other sightings. There have been 162 tornadoes in Massachusetts alone since 1950, according to the National Weather Service – has a roundup of Tornadoes of Massachusetts Past. Springfield is still recovering from the June 1, 2011 tornado, in which three were killed. And the older crowd among us may recall the horrific tornado in Worcester in 1953, which killed 93. Wikipedia has a historical roundup of Tornadoes in New England

With the rarity of events, tornadoes are not top of mind awareness for people when bad weather looms. Get the free Red Cross Tornado app to have everything you need to know to prepare for a tornado in the palm of your hand. To download: text “GETNADO” to 90999 or search “Red Cross Tornado” in the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Some of the app features include:

  • Step-by-step instructions to help you know what-to-do even if the cell towers and TVs are down. Prioritized actions for before, during, and after requires no mobile connectivity.
  • Audible siren that automatically goes off even if app is closed when NOAA issues a TORNADO WARNING helping to reduce the chance of sleeping through an actual warning.
  • Push notification sent when a WARNING expires – especially important if power goes out while you or your family are in your safe room.
  • Info on how to assemble an emergency kit for your family in the event of power outage or evacuation and how to make an emergency plan.
  • Info on the difference between a tornado warning and a tornado alert.
  • Red Cross location-based open shelters map for when you need it most.
  • Learn how to deal with food and water impacted by floods and power outages.
  • Let others know where you are with the Toolkit’s strobe light, flashlight and audible alert functions.

Massachusetts tornado response: emergency resources

The following are resources to help you respond to any tornado-related damage you may have suffered. As more resources become available we will add them. Also, check our Twitter feed: @RenInsureInfo.
Emergency response tips

  • Stay out of badly damaged buildings
  • If your home or business is badly damaged, try to shut off utilities or contact utility companies
  • Be cautious of any outdoor hazards such as debris, downed wires, tree limbs. Wear sturdy shoes or boots.
  • Take photos of any damage before cleaning up
  • Contact your insurance agent and / or your insurer.
  • Make temporary repairs to prevent further damage
  • Discard any food that may have been spoiled or contaminated
  • Check with local authorities for local alerts

Claims reporting: Direct links to Renaissance Alliance insurance partners claims reporting pages – list includes 40 of the state’s major insurers. If your insurer is not listed here, contact your independent agent or the Mass Division of insurance’s main number (617) 521-7794 or the Consumer Information Hotline (617) 521-7794.
Tips for claims reporting: What consumers should know when faced with a loss – Important, but sometimes difficult, filing a claim can be one of the most frustrating processes during a crisis or following a major disaster. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners offers tips for what your insurance company needs to help you avoid problems getting your claims paid.
Other resources
MA Governor declares a state of emergency
Follow emergency traffic & roadway updates on MA Department of Transportation Twitter feed
Mass Emergency Management Agency
CDC: After a tornado
What to do before, after & during a tornado (PDF)
Protect yourself from mold Locate in-person services near you
News reports and videos
ABC: Massachusetts Tornadoes: At Least 4 Dead; Springfield, Westfield Hard Hit – includes video clips
III: Massachusetts and Tornadoes