Everyone should know how to handle a severe storm occurring in their area. Every region has different storms, and you need to be prepared for what might happen to your home. Here is what you need to know to best prepare for a severe storm.
Make an Emergency Kit
Every home, every car, and every workplace needs an emergency kit. You never know where you will be when a storm hits, so make sure you have one accessible in most locations. The Red Cross suggests making sure your kit at home includes enough for your whole family, including pets, and backup medication for any conditions. Have one gallon of water per person per day, and try to have enough water to cover at least three days. You will need enough non-perishable food to last the duration of that time. If you use cans, don’t forget a can opener. Even pop-top lids can break and require the use of one. Have a hand-crank radio and flashlight, and if you can only find battery-operated versions, have plenty of backup batteries. You’ll need a whistle, a dust mask, plastic sheeting, and duct tape for broken windows. Have tools to shut off your utilities if necessary, and have backup batteries or chargers for your cell phone.
It’s estimated that at least 867,000 people are affected by thunderstorms every year, with lightning accounting for at least 300 injuries and roughly 60 fatalities. It’s important to know the difference between a thunderstorm “watch” and a thunderstorm “warning.” A watch means you should stay alert and up-to-date on the development of a storm. A warning, however, means you need to find shelter immediately, as there may be threat to life. If a watch is issued, it is time to secure your home. Close and bolt doors and windows. Pull down your shades or close your curtains to keep shattered glass from cutting you. Unplug all of your appliances and electronics, and stay away from anything metal once the storm hits as metal conducts electricity. Avoid roadways if at all possible, and never drive during a storm. The threat of mudslides is extreme during this time, and the damage they do is devastating. You do not want to get buried alive.
Often, you will know a blizzard is on its way and will have a bit of time to stock up on the supplies you will need, such as food, water, and so forth. However, in case there is no time to get to the store and back safely, have an emergency kit ready in your home and car. If you live in an area that suffers from extreme snow and cold, get your heating system checked regularly to ensure it can withstand a storm. Also, driving in snow is dangerous, whereas driving in a blizzard may be fatal. If you must go outside, make absolutely certain you are wearing enough layers of clothing. Ensure you have one to manage sweat and then more on top for insulation.
Tornadoes can hit with very little warning. To have the best chance of reaching safety and securing your position, make sure you have signed up for local text alerts and mobile warnings. FEMA (in the U.S.) suggests making sure that everyone in the family knows where to go in case of a tornado. Sit down and make a family plan and ensure you know who is meant to pick up whom in the case of young children. Take time to plan for multiple scenarios, including where to go at work, school, or any other function you attend regularly, such as a place of religious worship.
Severe weather is a real threat: one you need to take seriously. Don’t put off making an emergency kit, as you may not get the chance to do it later. With the right preparation, you can give yourself and your family the best possible chance of being safe.
Author : Thomas Hodge
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