|September is recognized as “National Preparedness Month,” a time for families and communities to prepare for the possibility of disasters throughout the year. Each week this month, we’ll be updating this page featuring a different emergency event with tips to help you be prepared! And, for complete information along with tips on disaster planning and preparation, visit Ready.gov where you’ll find checklists, action plans and more.
This Week’s Theme: Weather-Related Emergencies or Disasters
Floods can evolve slowly or quickly, and can cause incredible destruction of property in the form of water damage, power outages, land and property displacement. Some ways to prepare for flooding from weather events:
- Sign up for Emergency Alerts in your area.
- Do not attempt to walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Remember – TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN. Just 6″ of flood water is enough to displace a vehicle or knock an adult down.
- Stay away from bridges over fast-moving water.
- Evacuate if told to do so by authorities
- Move to higher ground if you are experiencing wide-spread community flooding.
- Make a plan to stay safe.
Extreme heat is defined as heat over 90 degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity for a period of two to three days. During periods of extreme heat, the human body must work harder to maintain normal body temperatures. High humidity increases the heat index, which makes temperatures feel hotter.
Older Adults, children, pets, and individuals who are sick are much more vulnerable to extreme heat. If we’re under an extreme heat advisory or heat warning, take these precautions.
- Avoid strenuous exercise or activities outdoors or in direct sunlight.
- Stay indoors with air-conditioning.
- Drink plenty of water and stay well-hydrated.
- Avoid drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
- Wear light clothing.
- Avoid keeping pets, children, or even adults in closed cars.
- Check on your elderly neighbors.
- Cover windows from direct sunlight.
Thunderstorms and Lightning
Severe thunderstorms are not uncommon in the spring, summer or even fall and lightning is a leading cause of weather related death. Severe thunderstorms can cause dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning, flooding, high winds, hail, and tornadoes. Remember – WHEN THUNDER ROARS – GO INDOORS! Some things to remember if a severe storm is coming:
- Pay attention to weather alerts on your cell phone or TV.
- If you are outdoors, be aware of your surroundings and your ability to get indoors safely. If you hear thunder, MOVE INDOORS OR INTO A CAR RIGHT AWAY.
- Unplug appliances
- If indoors during a storm, avoid using running water and landline phones.
- Cut down trees or tree limbs that may pose a danger to your home or property if they should fall during a storm.
- Consider purchasing surge protectors or lightning rods to protect your home and electronic devices from lightning strikes.
- After a severe storm, watch for downed power lines, trees and limbs, or flooding.
Tornadoes are extremely dangerous and can cause death and destruction with 200+ MPH winds. If you are in the path of a tornado:
- Seek shelter in a sturdy building, storm shelter, basement or interior room on the lowest level of a house.
- If you are stuck outdoors, find a low lying, flat location. Avoid going under bridges or underpasses.
- Stay away from windows or doors.
- Use your arms to protect your head or neck.
Snow and Extreme Cold
Winter will be here before you know it with the possibility of snow and extremely cold temperatures only a few months away. A severe winter storm can knock out power to a home for several days, leaving people without heat or communications. This situation can leave children, pets and adults in a vulnerable situation. So consider taking the safety measures:
- Prepare for power outages.
- Be aware of your community’s risk for severe winter weather.
- Stay off roads during the threat of snow or freezing precipitation.
- Stay indoors and stay warm.
- If you must drive during severe winter weather, make an emergency car kit before traveling.
- Only use generators and gas gills outdoors. NEVER use your stove or gas oven to heat your home.