Thursday, April 13, 2017

Severe Spring Weather Tips

By: Takara Clark, Volunteer

Spring is here, and with it comes warm weather, allergies, and bugs – but there is also severe weather that hunkers down on our area during this time. The only way to avoid disaster is to be ready for it. The Red Cross has a host of ways you can be prepared for the season.

For starters, you can download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of severe weather and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The App also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to

Next, see how prepared you are for emergencies. Use this checklist as a guide to help you make that determination.

In the event your area is threatened with floods, thunderstorms, or tornadoes, follow these helpful tips:

1. Pick a safe place in your home for household members to gather during a thunderstorm. This should be away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail.
2. If you are inside, unplug appliances and avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.
3. Make trees and shrubbery more wind resistant by keeping them trimmed and removing damaged branches.
4. If you are caught outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground, water, tall, isolated trees and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are not safe.
5. Protect your animals by ensuring that any outside buildings that house them are protected in the same way as your home.

1. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
2. Stay out of areas subject to flooding. Underpasses, dips, low spots, canyons, washes, etc. can become filled with water.
3. Stay away from floodwaters, they may be contaminated.
4. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
5. Turn off the power and water mains if instructed to do so by local authorities.
7. Use this checklist to help you prepare for severe flooding.

1. Know your community’s warning system.
3. Pick a place where family members can gather if a tornado is headed your way. It could be your basement or, if there is no basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.
4. If you are in a high-rise building and don’t have enough time to go to the lowest floor, pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.
5. Find a local emergency shelter and know the best routes to get there if you need to.
6. If you cannot quickly walk to a shelter, immediately get into a vehicle and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. Remember to buckle your seat belt.

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