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Safety Steps to Follow as Severe Weather Threatens

Storm Surge
There may be dangerous surf conditions along the East Coast.

Heavy rain is predicted for the Southeast, Gulf Coast and Mid-Atlantic regions over the next several days and the American Red Cross wants everyone to know what they should do to stay safe.

Tropical Storm Bertha is also moving northward through the Atlantic Ocean. Bertha is not expected to make landfall, but could increase the danger of rip currents along the beaches.

STORM SAFETY People should heed any storm alerts and watch for signs of a storm like darkening skies, increasing wind or lightning. If a storm threatens, you should:

  • Postpone outdoor activities and take shelter in a substantial building or in a vehicle with the windows closed. Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds.
  • If you hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning. If thunder roars, go indoors.
  • Shutter windows and close outside doors securely. Keep away from windows.
  • Avoid electrical equipment and telephones.
  • If driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
  • If you are outside and can’t get to a safe building, avoid high ground, water, tall trees and metal objects such as fences or bleachers, Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are not safe.
  • RIP CURRENTS are powerful currents of water flowing away from the shore and can occur at any beach with breaking waves. They are particularly dangerous for weak or non-swimmers, but can pull even the best swimmer out to sea under the right conditions.

    If someone is caught in a rip current, they should remember the following:

  • Remain calm
  • Never fight against the current
  • Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle away from it toward the shore.
  • If you can’t swim out of the current, float or calmly treat water. When out of the current, swim toward shore.
  • If you can’t reach the shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arm and yelling for help.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties as permanent rip currents often exist near them.
  • If you see someone in trouble, get help from a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1. Throw the victim something that floats, such as a lifejacket, cooler or inflatable ball. Yell instructions on how to escape the current. Remember, many people drown while trying to save someone else from a rip current.
  • About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies 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 or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.