Spring officially arrived, bringing lots of severe weather for much of the country. Heavy rain, flash flooding, damaging winds and tornadoes can be part of the package. The American Red Cross offers safety steps to follow if your area is affected.
FOLLOW THESE LIFESAVING SAFETY STEPS
TORNADOES Tornadoes can strike without warning and destroy a community in seconds. Before a tornado warning is issued for your area, here are some things you should do:
1. Know your community’s warning system.
2. Pick a place where family members can gather if a tornado is headed your way. It could be your basement or, if there is no basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.
3. If you are in a high-rise building and don’t have enough time to go to the lowest floor, pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.
4. Remove diseased and damaged limbs from trees.
5. Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.
THUNDERSTORM SAFETY STEPS Thunderstorms injure an average of 300 people every year, and cause about 80 fatalities. Here are the top thunderstorm safety steps you should follow:
1. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.
2. As the storm approaches, take shelter in a building.
3. If you are driving, pull off the roadway and park. Stay in the car with the windows closed and turn on the emergency flashers. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside of the vehicle.
4. If you are inside, unplug appliances and avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.
5. If you are caught 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.
FLOODING Heavy rains could fill rivers and streams, bringing flooding to the area. If your neighborhood is threatened with the possibility of flooding, here are some things you should do:
1. 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.
2. Stay away from floodwaters.
3. 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.
4. Keep children out of the water.
5. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY People should download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of tornadoes, flooding and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The App also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.