Be Aware and Prepare!

Do you know what to do when a tornado siren sounds? When you’re driving and come across flowing water? If you’re caught outside in a thunderstorm? Get the information you now, before you need it!

For detailed information from the American Red Cross on how to stay safe during severe weather, go to–Use-Red-Cross-Safety-Tips. Below are just a few of the many tips the Red Cross offers.

First, know what kind of weather is typical in your area, but be prepared for anything! Having a battery-powered or hand –crank radio, such as an NOAA Weather Radio, is the best way to keep on top of severe weather. Know the difference between a weather “watch” and a weather “warning.”

Have a family disaster plan to evacuate your home and practice it at least twice per year. The plan should include a meeting place near your home, (to be used in case of fire) and one more distant where you can meet if it’s a large –scale disaster such as a flood. If you or anyone in your household has access or functional needs, it is best to have a comprehensive evacuation plan that also includes care providers and care attendants, as appropriate. Be aware of the needs of those who use mobility aids. If you have pets, keep a list of “pet-friendly” hotels/motels and animal shelters.

Have an emergency preparedness kit. This should include:

  • Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home) • Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home) •Flashlight • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible) • Extra batteries • First aid kit • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items • Multi-purpose tool • Sanitation and personal hygiene items • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies) • Current digital photos of loved ones, updated every six months, especially for children • Cell phone with chargers • Family and emergency contact information • Extra cash • Emergency blanket • Map(s) of the area

In case of a tornado or high winds, mobile homes are not safe. Go to the nearest sturdy building or shelter immediately, using your seat belt if driving. Stay away from bridge and highway overpasses. If there are strong winds and flying debris, pull over and park, keeping your seat belt on and the engine running. Put your head down below the windows and cover your head with your hands and a blanket.

Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people every year than tornadoes or hurricanes. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightening. If thunder roars, go indoors! The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap. Do not take a bath or shower or use plumbing. If you are driving, try to exit the roadway safely and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.

When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there. Turn around, don’t drown! Do not try to walk or drive through floodwaters. As little as six inches of water can knock you over, and less than two feet of water can sweep your car away.

Be aware and prepare before you have to deal with severe weather!

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