Summer is here and so is severe weather! While storms are oftentimes exciting to observe, they can pose a serious threat to your safety. The first step towards keeping you and your family safe from storms is to be prepared. This includes learning about your community’s emergency warning system so that you will know when a severe storm is approaching. Next, it is important to pick a safe place in your home to gather during a storm. This place should be away from windows, skylights, and glass doors as these could easily be broken by strong winds. It is important that you put together an emergency preparedness kit so that you are ready when the storm hits. The kit should contain enough water for all members of your household, non-perishable food, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, family and emergency contact information, a first aid kit, and a seven day supply of your medications and medical items.
Now that you are prepared, it is important that you know how to properly respond during the storm. Signs that a thunderstorm is approaching include darkening skis, lightning flashes, or increasing wind. During a storm, listen to your local news or NOAA Weather Radio for emergency updates. Postpone outdoor activities if storms are approaching. If you hear thunder, go inside immediately because you are close enough to be in danger from lightning. If you are driving, try to safely exit the road and park. Stay inside your vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. If you are outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid water, isolated trees, and metal objects.
Once the storm has passed, there are a few additional precautions to be aware of. First, stay away from areas that were damaged by the storm. Next, never drive through a flooded roadway because you never know how deep the water is. Finally, help people who may require special assistance, such as infants, children, and the elderly or disabled.
For more information about storm safety, visit http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/thunderstorm.