Mississippi is prone to severe thunderstorms and tornados, and the American Red Cross urges residents to take steps now to stay safer when severe weather threatens.
“By preparing together for severe thunderstorms, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger,” said Bob Devaney, emergency services director. “We can help you and your family create a disaster preparedness plan now, before our community is threatened by high winds, hail, lightning and excessive rainfall.”
As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for severe thunderstorms
• Make a Home Disaster Plan: Pick a safe place in your home for household members to gather during severe weather. This should be away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail. Protect your animals by ensuring that any outside buildings that house them are protected in the same way as your home. Remove animals from vulnerable dog houses and similar small structures.
• Create an Emergency Preparedness Kit: Pack a first aid kit and essential medications, canned food and can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries.
• Heed Storm Warnings: A severe storm WATCH means severe thunderstorms or tornados are possible in and near the watch area. People in a watch area should keep informed and be ready to act if a severe weather warning is issued. A severe storm WARNING means severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning. Seek shelter immediately. The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.
• Prepare for High Winds: If you have time, secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by wind.
The Red Cross Tornado App gives people instant access to local and real time information on what to do before, during and after tornados where they live. The app, available in English and Spanish, sends location-based tornado, severe thunderstorm and flood alerts on mobile devices. Users can share vital information via Facebook, Twitter, text and email. The Tornado App, can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.
For more information, call the local Red Cross Office, search “Red Cross Mississippi” on Facebook or follow @RedCrossMiss on Twitter. For a list of Red Cross offices and contact numbers, visit www.redcross.org/mississippi.
Everyone is urged to share these Red Cross severe weather preparedness tips with every member of their household, because the best protection is to be prepared ahead of time.
The American Red Cross Mississippi Region shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters, supports the supply of about 40 percent of the nation’s blood, teaches skills that save lives, provides international humanitarian aid and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/mississippi, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @RedCrossMiss.