Thunderstorm Safety Tips

Jim Bauer Emergency Preparedness

When the warmer weather approaches many areas experience an increase in thunderstorms. Thunderstorms that produce hail at least one inch in diameter is considered to be a dangerous storm. If winds read 58 miles per hour or more, this can cause severe situations both in residential areas and on roadways. Thunderstorms can cause flash flooding, and also produce lightning which is much more deadly than hurricanes or tornadoes. All of these factors combined together can lead to a lot of damage to homes, businesses, trees, utility lines, and more.

Watch Vs. Warning

If a storm is approaching, local weather personnel will typically announce either a thunderstorm watch or a thunderstorm warning. Both of these are very different and carry different safety tips. A watch basically just means that there is a potential for a thunderstorm to occur in a specific designated area. You should remain informed on the situation at hand and be ready to act if a storm watch escalates to a warning. A thunderstorm warning means that there has been severe weather spotted in the area and there is the potential for danger.

Before The Storm

While the weather is okay before a storm and you are safe to venture outside, you should be sure to remove any large items or large branches that could blow around during a storm and cause damage or injury. If you see lightning in the distance you should be able to count to thirty before you hear thunder. If the time duration is less than thirty you should head indoors and follow recommended safety tips. Be sure to postpone any outdoor activities if there is a thunderstorm watch or warning in your area. Stay inside of your home or a nearby building until the storm has passed.

Take even more precaution by having a storm survival kit ready. Click here for our list of essential items.

During A Storm

If you are outside during a thunderstorm and there is no way to seek cover, you will want to find some sort of coverage in a low area that has thick growth or small bushes and trees. Make sure that you are never out on a body of water during a storm. If you are outside and you feel your hair start to stand on end this means that lightning is about to strike. Curl yourself up into a ball as small as possible and get to the ground. This will help make you a smaller target.

After A Storm

If you or someone you are with needs medical assistance, call 911 as quickly as possible. While you are waiting for help to arrive you should check for possible injuries such as broken bones and labored breathing. If everyone is safe then you can venture outside once the storm is over. Check your home for structural damage, branches that may have fallen on your home, downed power lines, or a damaged roof.

Each year there are a number of people being killed or injured during thunderstorms due to not following recommended safety tips. Stay aware of weather alerts on the radio or television and take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your family from danger.

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