How to be ready for anything: Tornadoes

What happens when a mega-force wind gets into some mixed martial arts-style action with a thunderstorm? You get a tornado. And Canada happens to get the second highest number of tornadoes after the U.S., with the majority happening in the Prairies and Ontario.

If you live in a region that’s prone to tornado activity, we want you to know the signs of an oncoming tornado and what to do when one occurs.

Signs of a tornado

  • Sky is unusually dark, often greenish
  • Hail or heavy rain, followed by extreme calm
  • Large, dark low-lying cloud
  • Loud, roaring sound

How to prepare for a tornado

  • Keep track of the tornado’s location by listening to the news. In areas where tornadoes are more common, there may be an outdoor siren warning system.
  • Take photos or video of your home contents, as well as photos of important documents (passport, birth certificate, social insurance card, etc.) Keep originals safe at home with a fire- and water-proof safe, or keep them offsite in a safe deposit box.
  • If you need to evacuate your home, establish a meeting place where your family or housemates can meet.

During the tornado: Stay low, stay safe

  • The safest place to be is in a basement, storm cellar or an interior room/hallway without windows on the lowest floor.
  • Stay in your safe area until the storm has safely passed.
  • Avoid windows.
  • Avoid being in a vehicle or motor home – they provide little to no protection from tornadoes.
  • If you’re outside and can’t get indoors, lie flat in a depressed part of the ground or low ground until the storm passes.

After the tornado

  • Continue to monitor news broadcasts or social media for emergency information.
  • Avoid entering damaged structures. Wear sturdy shoes or boots when walking in areas with debris.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and report any electrical hazards to the power company.
  • Cooperate fully with authorities and public safety officials.

While mother nature can be scary at times, the good news is that most home policies cover wind or windstorm damage caused by tornadoes – so you can focus on staying safe.


Protect your home and the things you love most.