Severe Weather Preparedness – Use Red Cross Safety Tips
The American Red Cross has safety tips to help prepare you for severe weather.
You can download the free Red Cross Emergency App to have safety information at your fingertips. It features emergency weather alerts so people can head to a safe place if needed, and provides information about what to do in case of various disasters. Red Cross apps are available in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
TORNADO SAFETY A tornado watch means tornadoes are possible in the area. Prepare to act quickly if a warning is issued or someone suspects a tornado is approaching. A tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated on radar. Go underground to a basement, storm cellar or interior room of the house.
Some signs of a tornado include dark, often greenish clouds, a wall of clouds or cloud of debris, large hail, a funnel cloud or roaring noise. Steps to remember if a tornado warning is issued include:
Go to an underground shelter, basement or safe room if available. A hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is also a safe alternative.
Mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes. Do not seek shelter in a hallway or bathroom of a mobile home. If you have access to a sturdy shelter or vehicle, get out of the mobile home immediately and go to either.
If you are caught outdoors, seek shelter in a basement, shelter or sturdy building.
If you can’t walk to a shelter quickly, immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.
If debris is flying while you are driving, pull over and park. You can stay in the car with the seat belt on, putting your head down below the windows, covering your head with your hands and a blanket if possible.
THUNDERSTORMS If you can hear thunder, you are close enough for lightning to be a threat. If thunder roars, go indoors and stay inside for at least 30 minutes after the thunder stops.
Listen to local news or NOAA Weather Radio for emergency updates. Watch for signs of a storm, like darkening skies, lightning flashes or increasing wind.
Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are likely to occur. Many people struck by lightning are not in the area where rain is falling.
If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, take shelter in a substantial building or in a vehicle with the windows closed. Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds.
Avoid using electrical equipment and telephones. Use battery-powered TVs and radios instead.
Shutter windows and close outside doors securely. Keep away from windows.
Do not take a bath, shower or use running water.
If driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
If outside and unable to 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.
More information on what to do before, during and after all types of emergencies is available in the Preparedness section of redcross.org.