How to Prepare for Severe Weather

Advance planning is the key to storm survival. WTOL News 11 anchors Terry Thill and Chrys Peterson say a little prior planning can make all the difference if your family needs to battle the bad weather.

First, have your own disaster plan in place, and stock up on the essentials.

  • Have a working flashlight and extra batteries.
  • You'll also want a portable, battery-operated radio, so you can stay informed on the latest weather information.
  • A first-aid kit is a must.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food items such as soup or other canned goods, and since you never know how long you may be trapped in your home, make sure you have enough bottled water on hand.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, suggests that you also keep these supplies on hand:

  • A non-electric (hand-operated) can opener
  • Essential medicines, both over-the-counter and prescription
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Sturdy shoes

But all the planning in the world won't help if you panic.  That's why you need a family plan that's practiced so you remain calm in a severe weather situation.  Your action plan should start as soon as the tornado watch is issued:

  • Move cars inside a garage or under carport, if possible, to avoid damage from hail that often accompanies severe storms.
  • Move lawn furniture and yard equipment inside. It could become damaged or act as dangerous projectiles.
  • Unplug appliances. Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity.
  • Avoid using the telephone.
  • Don't take a bath or shower.
  • Turn off the air conditioner.
  • Draw blinds and shades over windows.
  • If windows break due to objects blown by the wind, the shades will prevent glass from shattering into your home.

If a tornado warning is issued:

  • Immediately go to the lowest part of your house, preferably the basement or cellar. Get under something sturdy, like a workbench.
  • If you do not have a basement, a small windowless room in the middle of the house, such as a closet, is best. The more walls between you and the outside, the better.
  • Take your emergency kit with you.

Minutes count. Remembering these tips could save your life – or the life of someone you love.

Posted by AEB