Central Illinois (WMBD) — Severe weather prep usually includes reminders to have an emergency kit and taking cover at the lowest level of a building. But what to do with your important paperwork and patio furniture?

Though damage can seem inevitable during severe weather there are ways to reduce the risk. People can reduce the risk of home and vehicle destruction by clearing potential debris from their yards.

“So in the event of a severe storm, now would be a good time to think about moving some of those things that could be flying debris. So, patio furniture or sports equipment you may have outside, trampolines, things like that. Move them away from the open area,” said Heather Paul, media specialist for State Farm.

It’s also important to have electronic copies of important pictures and essential documents.

“You know if a tornado comes through and it hits your home, you can lose all your important paperwork and things like that. So that’s another thing to be prepared for. Make sure you have digital copies. Whether it’s pictures saved to your cloud, scanned onto a flash drive and stored offsite. Having it all in one place isn’t going to help you,” said Cathy Beck, Director of McLean County Emergency Management Agency.

Make sure insurance policies are up to date to make the claims process smoother.

“So, it’s a great time to talk to your insurance agent and know what do you need to pay out of pocket, what is going to be covered and what you need to do if a claim does happen and you need to file it,” said Paul.

The message for thrill seekers wanting to chase a tornado is simple: just don’t.

“You’re putting yourselves at risk. You could be harming your families. If you end up in trouble, now you’re putting first responders at risk and pulling them off of other calls,” said Beck.