As the week-long heat wave that stretched across much of the nation broke last night and this morning, residents face the possibility of severe storms. The American Red Cross has several safety tips on hand that can be useful.
Overnight, storms with damaging winds were reported in more than 160 locations, from Missouri to Virginia. In West Virginia, the state hardest-hit by last week’s heat wave, storms caused a new round of power outages and wind damage. Storms are forecasted to continue into Tuesday, and with them potential heavy rains, flash floods, high winds, hail and lightening.
Use the American Red Cross Thunderstorm Safety Checklist to ensure your safety and the safety of your family in the event of a severe thunderstorm. Most importantly, if storm clouds are blackening the sky, turn on a battery-operated radio or television and listen for a warning. If there is a warning, pay attention.
Prepare ahead of time
There are several steps you can take before a storm hits to prepare yourself and your family. Designate a safe place in your home, away from glass, at which family can gather during a thunderstorm. Secure outside items that could blow around, and ensure that outside animals are protected. Listen to your radio or television for emergency warnings.
Take cover during the storm
During a thunderstorm, go indoors; if there is thunder, stay inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap. Listen to local news or NOAA Weather Radio for emergency updates, using battery-powered TVs and radios, rather than those powered with electricity. In a severe thunderstorm warning, evacuate mobile homes that can blow over in high winds.
If you are driving try to exit the roadway and park. Stay in your vehicle, turn on your emergency flashers and avoid touching metal surfaces. If you are stuck outside, avoid high ground, water, tall trees and metal objects. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are not safe.
Stay safe after a thunderstorm
When the storm passes, continue to listen to your radio or TV for local information. Stay away from storm-damaged areas, flooded roadways and downed power lines. Check on the safety of people who may require special assistance. Keep your pets and other animals under your direct control.
If someone has been struck by lightening, call 9-1-1 immediately. Then begin CPR or first aid. If you haven’t had Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED training, follow the prompts on your American Red Cross First Aid App for iPhone and Android smart phone users.
Let your loved ones know you are safe
If your community has sustained a severe disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website to let your family and friends know about your welfare. If you don’t have Internet access, call 1-866-GET-INFO to register yourself and your family.