Storm season is here
By Russ Edem 530News –
Spring is around the corner and with it brings severe storms and tornados that can be deadly, but being ready for these acts of nature can mean the different between life and death.
“It is extremely important to be ready for the storm season,” Barton County’s Emergency Administrator Amy Miller said. “By knowing what to do in a situation like this because you prepared for it can mean everything to your family.”
According to Miller and the National Weather Service these are steps that can be taken before, during and after a storm.
Before a storm
- Check the forecast regularly to see if you’re at risk for severe weather. Listen to local news or a battery operated radio to stay informed about severe thunderstorm watches and warnings.
- Know how your community sends warnings. Some communities have outdoor sirens. Others depend on media and smart phones to alert residents to severe storms.
- Have a family plan that includes an emergency meeting place and related information. Pick a safe room in your home such as a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. Conduct a family severe thunderstorm drill regularly so everyone knows what to do if a damaging wind or large hail is approaching. Make sure all members of your family know to go there when severe thunderstorm warnings are issued. Don’t forget pets if time allows.
- Keep trees and branches trimmed near your house. If you have time before severe weather hits, secure loose objects, close windows and doors, and move any valuable objects inside or under a sturdy structure.
During a storm
- Continue to listen to local news or radio to stay updated about severe thunderstorm watches and warnings.
- At your house: Go to your secure location if you hear a severe thunderstorm warning. Damaging wind or large hail may be approaching. Take your pets with you if time allows.
- At your workplace or school: Stay away from windows if you are in a severe thunderstorm warning and damaging wind or large hail is approaching. Do not go to large open rooms such as cafeterias, gymnasiums or auditoriums.
- Outside: Go inside a sturdy building immediately if severe thunderstorms are approaching. Sheds and storage facilities are not safe. Taking shelter under a tree can be deadly. The tree may fall on you. Standing under a tree also puts you at a greater risk of getting struck by lightning.
- In a vehicle: Being in a vehicle during severe thunderstorms is safer than being outside; however, drive to closest secure shelter if there is sufficient time.
After a storm
- Stay informed: Continue listening to local news to stay updated about severe thunderstorm watches and warnings. More severe thunderstorms could be headed your way.
- Let your family and close friends know that you’re okay so they can help spread the word. Text messages or social media are more reliable forms of communication than phone calls.
- After you are sure the severe weather threat has ended, check your property for damages. When walking through storm damage, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes. Contact local authorities if you see power lines down. Stay out of damaged buildings.
- If you come across people that are injured and you are properly trained, if needed, provide first aid to victims until emergency responders arrive.
“This time of year is when we promote severe spring weather. People can help first responders within their communities by being ready and prepared,” Miller said. “Always be aware of what the weather is going to be like. The weather services nowadays can sometimes predict the weather two to three days out. Just be ready.”