Staying Safe During Severe Weather

“Be prepared!” It’s a good motto for all of us as we face spring weather. Know what you’re going to do long before the warnings hit your smartphone and the airwaves.

Yes, you do need an emergency preparedness kit! It might take time to assemble, but it’s better do that in sunny weather and daylight, rather than looking for canned food, bottled water, and a flashlight after the lights have gone out.

You also need an emergency plan. You need to know how to get you and anyone who lives with you out of the house quickly. Is there anyone with a disability in your household? Work with that person so he or she can get out of your home quickly. What about your furry family members? Where will you board them? Pets are often left behind in an emergency because their families haven’t made a plan for them and can’t rescue them safely.

You’ll also be concerned about communicating with loved ones. You can use the American Red Cross Safe and Well website to let loved ones know you’re safe and to check on their well-being if severe weather is hitting their region.

You can also prepare your home for severe weather. Keep trees and shrubs trimmed, and secure anything that could be blown around and hit someone. Keep debris cleaned up so it doesn’t get tossed around.

Whether you plan to be indoors or outside, know what the weather forecast is. Use a NOAA weather Radio or a battery-powered radio or television to track severe weather. The Red Cross Emergency App is an easy way to stay informed about threatening weather. If you’re caught indoors during severe weather, know where in your home is a safe place to shelter. Look for rooms that don’t have windows, skylights, or glass doors. Basements are a good option; if one isn’t available, choose a small, windowless interior room on the lowest level of the building you’re in. If you’re caught outside, try to get to a local shelter, church, or Red Cross location.

The most important actions you can take are the ones you take before severe weather is on the horizon. Make a plan! Be prepared! Stay informed!

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