Be aware of flood hazards, particularly if you live in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. Flooding can take days to happen, but flash floods can produce raging water in minutes. Six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
If a flood watch is issued:
- Be ready to evacuate (have a plan)
- If time allows, move important items upstairs
- Fill a clean bathtub with water in case the water supply becomes contaminated or is shut off
- Turn off utilities if instructed to do so
- Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water
Lightning and Thunderstorms
If you can hear thunder, you can be struck by lightning. Listen to local TV or radio for weather
watches and warnings.
Know the Difference:
- Severe Thunderstorm Watch: large hail, winds 58 mph or greater or a tornado are possible in your area in the next 3 to 6 hours.
- Severe Thunderstorm Warning: large hail, winds 58 mph or greater or a tornado are happening in your area or are about to happen.
If a thunderstorm is likely in your area, go indoors and use the 30/30 rule:
- If the time between the flash of lightning and the sound of thunder is 30 seconds or less, then lightning is close enough to strike you. Go inside immediately.
- Wait inside until 30 minutes have passed since the last flash of lightning.
Plumbing, bathroom fixtures and corded telephones can conduct electricity and cause serious
Stay away from windows.
Unplug computers or television sets to prevent power surges. If you have time, secure outdoor
items that could blow away.
Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize a region, making travel difficult if not impossible. Power outages are likely, especially when freezing rain is involved.
Ways to prepare for a winter storm:
- Have an updated emergency supply kit
- Have a plan for contacting people, stockpiling supplies, making arrangements for any needed in-home assistance
- Stay informed, listening to local media for weather-related information and instructions from emergency officials
- Have a battery-operated weather radio available
- Be safe when using generators and space heaters. Generators should not be placed indoors due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Never plug space heaters into extension cords; plug into wall outlets. Keep space heaters at least three feet from other objects, and be sure to turn off before going to bed.
- Avoid using candles during power outages. Many home fires in winter are caused by candles. Flashlights are much safer. Be sure to have plenty of extra batteries.
- If you have pets: Bring them inside. If they must stay outside, be sure they have shelter and insulation from the cold. Don’t use electric heating pads or any other heating appliances that can potentially burn your pet. Make sure your pet has enough food and unfrozen water; they may need more during cold temperatures.
- Dress in layers and keep dry; have extra blankets on hand in case the heat goes out
If you have a wood burning fireplace, consider storing wood to keep you warm if winter weather knocks out your heat. Also, make sure you have your chimney cleaned and inspected every year.
- Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector.
- Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
When it is hot outside:
- Never leave anyone in a closed parked car – not even for a few minutes
- Drink plenty of water, even if you aren’t thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine
- Eat small, frequent meals
- Stay inside and out of the sun
- Stay on the lowest floor, pull shades on windows, use fans if you don’t have air conditioning
- Use a spray bottle or sponge to mist or sponge yourself with cool water
- Use sunscreen if outdoors
- When outdoors wear a brimmed hat and loose, lightweight clothes
- If you take medication such as diuretics or antihistamines, talk to your doctor about how sun and heat may affect you
- Move to a cool place at the first sign of heat illness (dizziness, nausea, headache, cramps). Rest and slowly drink a cool beverage. Seek medical attention if you do not feel better.
Tornadoes are very dangerous and it is important to have a plan should you need to take
- Listen to radio or TV
- Look for approaching storm
Know the Difference:
- A tornado watch: when tornadoes are possible in the area. Watch the weather and be prepared to take shelter immediately if conditions worsen.
- A tornado warning: indicates that a tornado has been sighted in the area or is indicated on weather radar. Proceed to safe shelter immediately:
- Go to a safe room or the center of an interior room on the lowest floor. Put as many walls as possible between you and outside. Good shelters are basements, rooms, or halls with no outside walls, bathtubs, or spaces under the stairs.
- Get under a sturdy object. Use your arms to protect your head and neck.
- Do not open windows.
- Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls
If a patient is bed-bound:
- Move the bed as far from windows as you can
- Use heavy blankets or pillows to protect the head and face
If you are in a vehicle, trailer or mobile home:
- Get out immediately and go to a sturdy structure
- If there is no sturdy structure close by, lie flat in the nearest culvert or ditch and cover
- Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
- Do not get under your vehicle.
- Do not try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle (tornadoes are erratic and move swiftly)
Know what to do during an earthquake – Most deaths and injuries are due to falling walls, flying glass or debris. The greatest danger is falling debris directly outside buildings, at exits and along exterior walls.
During or immediately after an earthquake, the best protection is to get under heavy furniture, such as a desk, table or bench, staying away from glass.
If you are in a wheelchair, move to a doorway or into the corner of an inside room, lock the wheels and cover your head and arms.
If you are in bed, stay there. Cover your head with a pillow to protect yourself from falling objects and debris.
If you are already outside, stay clear of buildings, power lines, overpasses and elevated expressways.
Expect aftershocks—smaller quakes (and sometimes larger ones) that can often follow hours or days after the initial shake, causing further damage to weakened buildings and structures.
Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing noise, open a window and leave the building immediately; turn off the gas at the outside main valve, if possible, and call the gas company.