Safety tips: How to prepare, what to do during severe weather

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Monday, July 26, 2021
How to prepare your home for high winds
Is your property prepared for high winds? If severe weather is in the forecast, follow these simple steps from AccuWeather to minimize damage:

New York (WABC) -- With a seemingly endless number of severe storms this summer causing flash flooding and downing trees and power lines, there are steps you can take to stay safe before, during and after the storm.

When it comes to strong wind gusts and fast accumulating rainfall, proper preparation and knowing what to do in certain situations can save your life.

Here's your severe weather checklist:

Before the storm

--Check the weather forecast before leaving for extended periods outdoors.

--If a storm is approaching, keep a NOAA Weather Radio or AM/FM radio with you.

--Watch for signs of approaching storms.

--Postpone outdoor activities if storms are imminent.

--Check on neighbors who require special assistance: infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

During the storm

--If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.

--Move to a sturdy building or car. Do not take shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees, or in convertible automobiles.

--If lightning occurs and sturdy shelter is not available, get inside a hard-top automobile and keep the windows up.

--Get out of boats and away from water.

--Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances not necessary for obtaining weather information. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. Use phones only in an emergency.

--Get to higher ground if flash flooding or flooding is possible. DO NOT attempt to drive to safety. Most flash flooding deaths occur in automobiles.

Preparing your home for high winds

Is your property prepared for high winds? If severe weather is in the forecast, follow these simple steps from AccuWeather to minimize damage:

--Secure outdoor items like trash bins and patio furniture that could blow away.

--Take down items like hanging plants that could be blown into windows or patio doors.

--Be sure that propane and other fuel tanks are properly secured.

--Remove any dead or rotting trees and limbs that could fall and cause damage.

Preparing for a flood

Floods are unpredictable and can cause massive amounts of damage. Here are helpful tips from AccuWeather on how to prepare for this weather event.

Assemble an emergency preparedness kit with items like water, nonperishable foods and at least a week's supply of medications. AccuWeather also suggests to create a household evacuation plan, so your family members will be safe in the event a flood comes.

Finally, be sure to check with local authorities about flood plans and relocation routes.

Preparing for an extended power outage

Power outages are usually only a short-term problem, but in extreme cases, they can last for days or even weeks. Preparation and awareness are the best tools for surviving a long-term power outage.

AccuWeather suggests stocking up on non-perishable foods and water. Perishable food in an unpowered refrigerator will only last two days at the most. Consider grilling food during a power outage that could render other appliances unusable.

Spare batteries and flashlights should be kept in an easily accessible place. Depending on the season, extra blankets, for when it's cold, and handheld fans, for when it's hot, are recommended.

While costly, a generator can also be beneficial during a long-term power outage. Depending on the model, a portable generator can offer enough electricity to power a refrigerator, cell phones, small appliances and computers. Click here to learn more about generators.

What to know about generators

Power outages are common when severe weather strikes, and they could leave you in sweltering heat. A power generator could come in handy during a blackout and could even keep hundreds of dollars of food from spoiling.

A gas-powered portable generator is the most basic backup generator and can get you through a short-term blackout, according to AccuWeather. Place it in your yard and plug it into your home using extension cords.

Portable generators often cost between $500 and $1,500, depending on the model. A standby generator is much more powerful and convenient.

It immediately turns on when the power goes out, but your wallet will take a hit. They cost between $5,000 and $15,000.

Preparing an emergency go bag

In preparation for an emergency evacuation, families should have emergency "go bags" packed so they are ready to leave at a moments notice.

Go bags should be easy to carry and hold a few essentials you might need once you reach a safe location. AccuWeather recommends the following items in your emergency bag:

--Gallon of water per person

--Clean clothes

--Medical kit

--Cash and cards

--Phone charger

--Spare keys

--Hygiene products

--Important phone numbers

--Plastic bags

--Non-perishable foods

--Personal ID

--Insurance policy numbers

--Irreplaceable items

More lightning safety tips from FLASH

Every year in the United States, approximately 60 people are killed by lightning and hundreds more are injured, according to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes.

It's important to remember that such storms can cause injury or even death, as well as damage your home.

--Stay alert for signs of thunder and lightning and don't wait for the rain to seek shelter -- lightning strikes often happen before the rain starts to fall.

--If possible, take shelter in a larger building or a fully enclosed vehicle. Close all the windows and don't lean on doors. Turn off, unplug and stay away from appliances and electronics.

--If you do find yourself outside during a thunderstorm, don't take shelter under small, partially enclosed spaces or near trees.

--Stay away from metal objects, including fences.

--Stay at least 15 feet away from other people and crouch down with your feet together and cover your ears with your hands to minimize hearing damage from the thunder.

--Once the storm has passed, wait at least 30 minutes to resume outdoor activities.

Foods to buy during a prolonged storm

Making sure you have enough food before a storm -- particularly a hurricane nor'easter -- hits your area is one of the most important things to do. AccuWeather recommends stocking up on the following items:

  • Non-perishable foods like ready-to-eat canned meat, fruits, and vegetables and canned juices can provide essential nutrients.
  • Vitamins will help replace nutrients you would have eaten on a normal diet.
  • Be sure to have samples like sugar, salt, pepper and spices. A basic supply of seasoning and sweeteners will improve the flavor of both fresh and packaged food.
  • High-energy foods like nuts and trail mix are healthy and convenient for snacking. Get energy bars and granola bars, which are an excellent source of carbohydrates.
  • It's very important to have enough food for infants.
  • Comfort foods are good to have around when you're stuck indoors for a long period of time.


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