PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST SEVERE STORMS
Tornadoes average a speed of 112 mph, but can produce winds up to 200-300 mph. That’s nearly twice the speed of most hurricanes. Straight line winds from thunderstorms often produce tornado-like damage as well, and research shows these wind bursts can occur throughout the country, sometimes without predictable signs of heavy rain, thunder, lightning or hail. If a tornado warning alarm sounds, you may have only seconds to take cover. Hurricane warnings may give you 24-hour notice, but time is still crucial, and tornadoes often form when a hurricane makes landfall. That’s why it’s important to know exactly what to do when severe whether strikes. Making the right moves can save your life, as well as the lives of those you love.
Learn the warning signs
Nobody likes to cancel a golf game or other fun activities, but when weather looks threatening, remember: Put safety first.
- Beware of hailstorms, blowing debris, or the roaring “train” sound of an approaching tornado. Tornadoes can develop rapidly and sometimes strike before warnings can be issued .
- Postpone outdoor activities if your area is under watch
- A tornado warning means actual tornadoes have been sighted. A hurricane warning means winds of 74 mph or greater, dangerously high water and rough seas are expected within 24 hours.
USE CAUTION AFTER A STORM
Make sure the people around you are safe
Check for injuries and call for help. Do not move a seriously injured person unless there’s danger of further injury in that person’s location.
When outside, take these precautions
- Watch for broken glass, gas leaks and downed power lines.
- Stay out of damaged buildings. You could be injured by collapsing walls ceilings or roofs.
- If you can’t perform emergency repairs to your property safely, seek help from your insurance company or a professional repair service.
- Enter your home with caution. Beware of insects, snakes and animals driven to higher ground by flood water.
BE PREPARED BEFORE SEVERE WEATHER STRIKES
It’s a good idea to put together an emergency kit to grab at a moment’s notice, and store it in a waterproof container.
Your emergency kit should include:
A flashlight and batteries, a portable, battery-operated radio with weather band, a first aid kit, essential medicines, credit cards, work gloves, duct tape, special medical information, insurance documents, sleeping gear, drinking water and freeze-dried foods. You should also store basic hand tools such as hammer, nails, screwdrivers, wrench, and a small hatchet. And include a list of phone numbers and addresses for emergency services and shelters, physicians, family and friends outside your area.Make sure everyone in your family knows where the kit is kept. Review your emergency plan with your family. Children may be at school and adults at work when the storm hits. Have plan for getting back together. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the “family contact”. Post the written plan in a place where your family knows to look.
MAKE YOUR HOME AS STORM READY AS POSSIBLE
Here are some valuable suggestions on preventing problems from high winds:
Purchase sturdy “L-brackets” from the hardware store. Use them to anchor your major appliances to the walls or counter-tops of your home. Watch out for electrical hazards. If necessary, hire a professional.
Prevent leakage from water driven by high winds. If you have a metal roof, recoat it if needed. Metal roof coating is available at lumber yards and hardware stores.
Establish a windbreak. Tall trees provide a natural windbreak. Remember to trim healthy trees and remove deceased trees.
Debris and Leaves
Keep your roof free of debris and leaves that can rot and deteriorate both shingle and metal roofs.
Securely attach heater and furnace to your home.
Consider replacing older windows with modern impact-resistant glass. Following these preparation tips could make all the difference when disastrous weather hits.
Repair exterior siding, awnings, gutters, downspouts and brackets if loose, damaged or dangling. Make sure skirting is properly vented.
Pit child safety locks on your upper and lower cupboards to prevent spillage.
Learn how to quickly disconnect breakers in the service box for your water, gas and electric.
Use “V-hooks” to mount pictures and wall hangings instead of nails. These hooks enable pictures to shift without falling from the wall.
Keep your yard free of poles, shovels, bikes and other loose articles. These can become hazardous flying objects during severe windstorms.
Have a trained professional install proper tie-downs on your home and sheds.
Underneath your mobile home
Don’t store flammable, caustic or hazardous material – not even newspapers or grass clippings.