Every year, thousands of people are impacted by severe weather threats such as tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. Preliminary data for 2012 shows there were more than 450 weather-related fatalities and nearly 2,600 injuries.
Every state in the U.S. has experienced tornadoes and severe weather, and although some more than others, everyone is at risk. You can take steps to prepare for when severe weather strikes in your area. Knowing the most common weather hazards in your area, your vulnerability, and what actions you should take can save your life and others.
Keep some extra food and water on hand in case you can’t leave or get out to stores.
Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.
Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
Volunteer with local groups to prepare and assist with emergency response.
Get involved in your community as it works to prepare for an influenza pandemic.
The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property during severe weather:
Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of lightning or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.
Blowing debris or the sound of an approaching tornado may alert you. Tornado danger signs included dark, almost greenish sky; large hail; a large, dark, low-lying cloud or a load roar, similar to a freight train.
Heed shelter or evacuation requests made by officials or announcements on radio/television.
Gather family members, bring pets indoors and have your emergency supply kit ready.
Close outside doors and window blinds, shades or curtains. Stay away from doors, windows and exterior walls. Stay in the shelter location until the danger has passed.
During lightning, do not use wired telephones, touch electrical appliances or use running water. Cordless or cellular telephones are safe to use.
Remember the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily raining for several days, be alert to the possibility of a flash flood.
Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths. Six inches of swiftly moving water can knock you off your feet.
Stay indoors and limit travel to only absolutely necessary trips. Listen to radio/television for updates.