NM Red Cross Safety Tips for T-Storms, Lightning, Flash Floods

Albuquerque, NM- As New Mexico’s Monsoon season gets underway, The American Red Cross in New Mexico offers safety tips for thunder storms, lightning and flash flooding.

• Listen to local news or NOAA Weather Radio for emergency updates. Watch for signs of a storm, like darkening skies, lightning flashes or increasing wind.

• Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are likely to occur. Many people struck by lightning are not in the area where rain is occurring.

• If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, 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 can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning. If thunder roars, go indoors! The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.

• Avoid electrical equipment and telephones. Use battery-powered TVs and radios instead.

• Shutter windows and close outside doors securely. Keep away from windows.

• Do not take a bath, shower or use plumbing.

• If you are 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 cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground; water; tall, isolated trees; and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are NOT safe

• Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

• When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.

• Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.

• If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.

• Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.

• Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

• Because standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more flood safety tips and information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program Web site at www.FloodSmart.gov.

You’ll be better prepared to withstand a weather emergency or disaster if you have the following items available – packed and ready to go in case you need to evacuate your home

• Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day

• Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food

• Flashlight

• Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)

• Extra batteries

• First Aid kit

• Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)

• Multi-purpose tool

• Sanitation and personal hygiene items

• Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies)

• Cell phone with chargers

• Family and emergency contact information

• Extra cash

• Emergency blanket

• Map(s) of the area

• Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)

• Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)

• Tools/supplies for securing your home

• Extra set of car keys and house keys

• Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes

• Rain gear

• Insect repellent and sunscreen

• Camera for photos of damage

The Red Cross urges all New Mexicans to make a plan, make a kit and stay informed regarding weather emergencies.

The Red Cross depends on the generosity of the American people to fulfill our mission. To help the Red Cross continue to save lives, contributions may be made to the American Red Cross Local Disaster Relief Fund by calling 1-800-560-2302. Contributions to the Local Disaster Relief Fund may also be sent to the American Red Cross in New Mexico by mail: American Red Cross in New Mexico, 7445 Pan American West Fwy. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109 or made online at www.redcross.org/newmexico. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or visit us on Twitter @RedCross.

Media Contact: Beverly L. Allen, Communications Coordinator, (505) 220 3097