Because our area of the United States has been hit by thunderstorms and tornadoes lately, we decided it might be a good idea to review some safety tips, just in case. The first lesson, of course, is to be prepared for any disaster. We think we are prepared, but are we really? Have you taken these precautions?
BEFORE THE STORM:
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, local television or radio for the latest alerts.
- Remember: WATCH: means conditions are right for a weather incident; WARNING: means a tornado or dangerous thunderstorm has been sighted.
- Unplug electrical appliances and equipment.
- Prepare an emergency kit with non-perishable food, medicines, baby supplies, pet food, flashlights, battery-operated radios and extra batteries, water, your cell phone and first aid kit.
- Evacuate immediately, if told to do so by the authorities. If you can’t leave, seek shelter or call local authorities for assistance.
- If someone in your home is dependent on electric life-sustaining medical equipment, make arrangements to relocate quickly.
- Keep your pets with you.
DURING A STORM:
- Stay tuned to the local radio stations, using battery-operated radios, to know when it’s safe to re-emerge from shelter.
- Use flashlights or battery-operated lamps. Do not use candles or open flames.
- Don’t attempt to reset circuit breakers.
BEFORE AND DURING A TORNADO:
- Know the danger signs – dark, greenish sky, low-lying clouds.
- If there is a tornado warning, and you are in a mobile home or vehicle, leave and go to the lowest floor of a nearby sturdy building or storm shelter.
- Stay indoors if you are in a structure with a safe room, storm cellar, or basement. Otherwise go to the lowest level and have as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get in a closet or hallway.
- Stay away from windows and doors.
- If you are outside, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression, cover your head with your hands. You will be safer in a flat location. Do not try to outrun it if you are in a vehicle. Find safe shelter, and leave your vehicle.
- Do not stay under an underpass.
- Watch for flying debris, which causes many fatalities and injuries.
AFTER A STORM:
- Be patient. Local utility crews will be activated to restore power immediately after the storm.
- Stay away from downed or sparking power lines. And be sure to report them immediately.
- Check appliances for water damage and ensure all cords are dry before plugging them into wall sockets.
- Do not stand in water when operating switches or plugging and unplugging appliances.
Families should have a plan of action. If they have school-age children, they need to contact their schools and find out what plans they have for emergency situations, how they will contact parents, and where parents can pick up their children, if time allows.
Our weather forecasters do their best to predict storms by warning us in time to take shelter. However, sometimes Mother Nature sneaks up on us, so be prepared.
Source: FEMA, TXU