The time is now: Your Severe Weather Safety Plan
Tornadoes, damaging thunderstorm winds, large hail, and flash floods can occur at any time of the year. However, late winter and spring usually bring the greatest chance of these severe weather events occurring in Louisiana.
The goal of severe weather awareness is to call attention to the threats posed by these weather hazards and to review severe weather safety rules in an attempt to reduce the loss of life and injury. Post-storm interviews with survivors of severe weather events prove that preventative safety measures greatly enhance the chance of survival.
Now is the time to develop a severe weather safety plan. A successful plan should include:
- Knowledge of terminology such as watches and warnings
- Knowledge of safety rules to follow when severe weather strikes
- A reliable method of receiving emergency information
- Review and testing of the plan.
Emergency managers, schools, government agencies, private businesses, and local citizens are encouraged to review their severe weather safety plans and conduct drills as appropriate.
What can you do to be ready? Develop a severe weather plan. The National Weather Service says that post-storm interviews with survivors confirm that having a safety plan in place greatly increases the chance of survival. A successful severe weather plan consists of knowing the meanings of watches and warnings, knowing safety rules pertinent to each severe weather hazard and having a reliable source of weather and emergency information.
During a severe weather situation, you may be advised to shelter in place or evacuate. Sheltering in place means going indoors, closing all windows and doors and staying put until the severe weather has passed and the all clear has been given by local officials. Evacuating requires families to have a plan for where they will go if their homes are unsafe. Identify several friends, family members or others that you can stay with during an evacuation. Remember: when severe weather hits, your original evacuation place may not be available, so you should have a backup plan.
An important part of every family or person’s severe weather plan is packing an emergency kit that includes the items they will need in case they have to shelter in place or evacuate because of severe weather. This kit should include, among other supplies: flashlights, extra batteries, a battery-powered radio and lantern, a first aid kit, canned food and a non-electric can opener, special medical items for any members of the family with special needs, high energy foods like peanut butter and jelly, crackers and granola bars, a utility knife, plastic sheeting, protective clothing and rainwear, a change of clothes for each family member and at least three gallons of water per person and pet. Stashing all supplies in one place will help families locate them in the event of a power outage. If a family must leave its home, the kit can go with them.
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