As Severe Weather Preparedness Week comes to a close on Sunday, residents are reminded that preparedness should not be a temporary thing. Severe weather can take many forms including hail, lightning, thunderstorms, tornadoes, flooding and strong winds, and all residents are encouraged to stay educated about severe weather as knowing what to do in the event of a severe weather incident may be a lifesaver.
In light of the severe weather that has struck the Hoosier state – flooding in April and December, tornadoes and strong winds in November, and heavy snow and cold throughout the winter – now is the perfect time to get prepared and develop the habit of staying alert. Listen to weather forecasts and sign up for cell phone weather warnings. Take steps ahead of time by developing a family communication plan and putting together emergency kits for the home and each vehicle.
According to Ready.gov, a basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
During a tornado or other strong wind event, remember that basements, cellars, or ground floor interior rooms provide the best protection. Stay away for exterior walls, windows, and doors. Get out of a mobile home and seek shelter in a building with a strong foundation. If in a vehicle, do not try to outrun a tornado; get out of the vehicle and into a building if possible. Otherwise, lay flat in a ditch or low area and cover your head. If there is no low area available, stay buckled up in the vehicle, put your head below window level, and cover up with clothes, blankets, or cushions.
During a thunderstorm or lightning event, stay away from doors and windows and off porches. Avoid corded electrical appliances including devices plugged in for recharging. Avoid contact with plumbing as pipes and water can carry an electrical charge. If outside, avoid hilltops, trees, and other natural lightning attractors. Take shelter in a sturdy building. Get off the water and avoid boats and anything metal. If driving, safely pull off the road. Stay in the vehicle but avoid touching metal parts that may conduct electricity.