Majority of Americans unprepared for natural disasters

National Weather Service confirms the EF-3 tornado was on the ground for 24 miles. (CNN)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Storms spawning tornadoes and causing flooding stretched from Oklahoma to North Carolina this week. The devastation left behind has families scrambling to pick up the pieces.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says 70 percent of Americans haven’t practiced for a disaster. Many don’t have a plan in place in case of a disaster.

Last fall, the Halloween floods damaged Thomas Gonzales’ Onion Creek home. He says it’s been a slow recovery.

“Lots of hassle, I mean, from the city, insurance and everyone in between,” said Thomas Gonzales, Austin resident.

Gonzales says having records would help. He’s doing things differently now.

“Now the plan is to save all the receipts, not on paper but e-files,” said Thomas. “What you have, brand, model, number, how much it cost, how old is it, at least you’d have all that.”

Online tools can help document what you own. Homezada has a home inventory tool with lists and a way to take or upload photos. It also offers a free app.

Insurance agent, Sheryl Danback tells her customers to have an escape plan and kit with the essentials in case of a disaster.

“Accidents are accidents,” said Sheryl Danback, owner Danback Insurance Agency. “Disasters are disasters. The more prepared you are the better off you’re going to be.”

Afterward, she says filing your claim right away with a list of all your belongings makes the process faster.

“Find out what’s covered, what’s not, what’s personal property, what needs to be scheduled, what has limitations,” said Danback.

Wednesday, FEMA launched America’s PrepareAthon!. The goal is to get more people to understand the threats their community faces, from tornadoes to wildfires, make a plan to protect them, and practice that plan. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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