Hazards from severe weather can be produced by thunderstorms, strong winds, tornadoes, hail, flooding, flash flooding, and even happen in the winter with freezing rain, sleet, and snow, just to name a few conditions. While you may not be able to fully prepare for every situation, here are a few things that can help stay prepared.
The first thing I think of when preparing for sever weather is being, a term I call, “Weather Aware”. Severe weather can happen at all hours, at any location. Getting informed of the weather situation before something happens is always better than being caught unaware. Ask yourself questions, such as, “What is the weather situation?”; “What potentially could happen (hail, winds, tornado, etc.)?”; “When will it happen?”; and “Where?”.
You can get this information from multiple sources and mobile apps. My bookmarks include NWS Ft. Worth office’s website www.weather.gov/fwd/ and their Twitter page https://twitter.com/NWSFortWorth (you do not need a Twitter account to view). They provide multiple updates during the day, and live storm reports during various events. During sever weather, I am usually monitoring what is happening in other counties, as it is coming closer, before it arrives.
Know and establish your shelter areas at work and at home. If you are outside, get indoors immediately, especially if you hear the local Outdoor Warning Sirens (https://cityofallen.org/1112/Outdoor-Sirens). Notice I did not call them “tornado sirens”, because they are for all types of severe warnings. If you are in a car or diving, pull over safely and get inside.
At home, designate your shelter area. It is best to go to an interior room on the lowest level, such as a closet or bathroom. Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. Prepare before-hand to have blankets and pillows nearby, that can double for protection and covering. Have water, snacks, flashlights, batteries, first-aid kit, radio, communications, etc. Do not just rely on your cell phone, because if your power goes out for an extended time, chances are the local cell tower also has no power also.
72-Hour Kits/Go Bags
Do you remember when you last went on vacation or trip out of town for a few days? Think of all the items you wanted to take or needed to have. Now, imagine packing everything in 15 minutes or less!
You may only have a very short time to gather what you need if you must leave. When was the last time you checked your 72-hr kit? Do it now. If you do not have one, prepare one, or a second one to keep in your car or other location. Do not forget about important documents, medications, and pets.
Each member of your household is responsible for knowing what to do in an emergency. Designate a few meeting places, should you be separated from your loved ones and family. It is a good idea to have a meeting place in your neighborhood, like a park, business, or school, as well as having a place outside your neighborhood, and even one out-of-town.
Please share in the comments on what you and your family does or additional tips to prepare.
Written by Kenneth Spock, KF5TXL