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How To Be Prepared For Natural Weather Disasters Part 2

Updated on February 27, 2010
  • Choose an out-of-state relative or family friend to serve as a family contact if family members are split up in an emergency. Each person must know the contact's phone number and should call to report his or her whereabouts.
  • Teach children when and how to call 911 and other emergency numbers, and post phone numbers for ambulance service, the fire department and the police by all telephones.
  • Show everyone in the family how to turn off the water, gas and electricity at the main shutoffs. (Note: Once the gas is turned off, it must be turned on by a professional.)
  • Plan the best escape routes from your home, and make sure everyone knows them.
  • Once you've developed a plan, discuss the details every six months so that children don't forget. Conduct drills regularly, for getting to the in-home shelter or leaving the house.
  • Find ways to let children help in these preparations so they'll feel involved and responsible. In a crisis, having a job to do can reduce panic.

Seeking Shelter

Although in the case of hurricanes, avalanches or floods you may be advised to evacuate your home, inside is the safest place to be when tornadoes and severe thunderstorms threaten or when a hurricane may affect your area but evacuation isn't called for. Your shelter should be in a basement, a storm cellar or the lowest possible level in the building. If your home has no basement, choose an inside hallway or a small inside room with no windows, for example, a bathroom or closet. Stay far away from the windows and the corners of a room. Move to the center. Get underneath a piece of sturdy furniture, if possible, and hang on to it. Be sure to protect your neck and head with your arms.

If you're at work or school, go down to the lowest possible floor in the building and avoid areas with wide-span roofs, like those at shopping malls and auditoriums. As at home, try to get underneath a piece of heavy furniture.

If you're outside during a tornado warning, quickly get inside your house or any other building if it's possible. If not, get down in a low-lying area or a roadside ditch or crouch dow near a substantial building. Watch for flash flooding. Cover the back of your neck and head with your arms.

If you're outside when a severe thunderstorm warning has been given, try to get into a building or a car. If you can't, find an open area and squat close to the ground. Never stand under a single large tree. In a wooded area, look for a low clump of trees and squat near the ground. Stand clear of objects that could draw lightning, such as golf clubs, lawn equipment, tools, fishing rods, bikes and camping equipment. Steer clear of bodies of water.

If you're in a car or truck during a tornado warning, immediately get out of the vehicle and look for a building or a ditch. Don't seek shelter under a bridge or overpass, and never try to out run a tornado.

Note: Do not remain in a mobile home when a tornado warning has been given. Go immediately to a building with a strong foundation, or lie in a ditch away from the unit, which could be picked up and tossed by the tornado. If you must seek shelter in a ditch, be on alert against the possibility of flash flooding.

Continued In How To Be Prepared For Natural Weather Disasters Part 3

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