Thunderstorm already hitting your area - is this blog too late? Nope.
Take a look at some tips on how to prepare for a weather-related disasters like thunderstorms and the ensuing threats they pose... and what you can do right now if one has made landfall.
A Thunderstorm is happening now
Since the thunderstorm is hitting your area right now, you should:
- Listen to the radio/tune in to a news channel on your TV as they will have the most up-to-date information on what is happening.
- If you have a NOAA weather radio, tune to your local service frequency
- If outdoors, avoid seeking shelter under a tree or in a makeshift shelter like a shed, tent, or picnic shelter.
- Move indoors - be sure to move pets inside too
- Stay out of large rooms (like a gym or auditorium) if high winds are present
- Keep away from wiring and plumbing: if the building is struck, lighting will travel through the building's plumbing and wiring.
- Avoid using sink, shower, electrical outlets connected to the building - unplug your phone charger and laptop!
- Stay away from windows as high winds or hail may damage them
- If in a car, stay inside with the windows rolled up. If it is safe to do so, drive to the nearest shelter.
- Stay indoors. Many victims struck by lighting have admitted to leaving shelter too soon.
- If there is a lot of rain and flooding is possible, avoid sheltering in lower areas like an underground basement
Thunderstorm: Knowledge = Safety
- When you hear thunder, move indoors.
- Avoid open areas like fields, parks, and baseball fields
- Avoid "taller" objects in an area stay clear of isolated trees, power/utility poles
- If in a group of people, spread out. A group of people struck by lighting will likely end with multiple casualties.
- Avoid metal conductors like a fence as lighting can travel long distances down it
- Lighting CAN STRIKE TWICE!
- Lighting can strike outside of the area where it is raining
- If you hear thunder, lighting can strike you where you are.
What to do if someone is STRUCK by LIGHTNING
- Call 9-1-1
- If possible, move the victim indoors or to a safer location.
- Give First Aid
- If person is not breathing, begin CPR if so trained
- If the situation warrants, use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator)
Preparing for a Thunderstorm
- Have supplies ready in case of a power outage: batteries, water, NOAA weather radio, flashlights, food, power supply.
- Avoid outdoor activities if thunderstorms are expected or in the area
- Avoid using a corded phone as lighting can travel through its wiring
- Thick plastic sheeting and duct tape are essential if high winds damage windows, you can use these to make temporary repairs
- Listen to the radio or watch news channels for the latest updates
- Secure loose objects around the exterior of your house (like a tarp, small debris, or other objects that can become a projectile when airborne).
- Move valuable objects indoors or under a sturdy structure
- Close all windows and doors (including interior doors)
- Know where your family member are and have a plan
After a Storm
- Contact loved ones to ensure they're safe. Texting and social media messages are usually the most reliable way (as phone lines are congested)
- Continue to listen to the news/NOAA radio for updates
- If going outside, carefully inspect damage to your house and the surrounding area. BE AWARE of downed power lines, broken water pipes, and broken gas lines.
- Report any immediate life-threatening issues such as downed power lines or broken gas pipes: Call 9-1-1
- If you are trained or able to, help your neighbors. You can provide first aid or aid in a clean-up if it is safe to do so.
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