Lightning, Flash Flood, and Tornado Safety
Depending on your location in the United States, you have to be aware of natural disasters that could occur in your area.
In 2015, there were 522 deaths and 2,143 injuries directly attributed to weather conditions such as lightning, flash floods, tornadoes, and more. No matter where you are, your area poses a risk for natural events and disasters.
In all situations, you should be prepared for the worst. So, before we talk about the specifics, we are going to show you a standard plan created by the American Red Cross for emergency situations.
American Red Cross Three Step Emergency Plan
1. Create an emergency supply kit
• It should contain a supply of water that can last you 2 weeks (approximately 1 gallon per person each day)
• Enough non-perishable foods to last you 2 weeks
• Flashlights and extra batteries
• Extra cash and important personal documents
2. Make a plan
Decide on two designated areas to meet: (1) a place right outside of your home and (2) a place located outside your neighborhood in case your family gets separated. You should also have a list of emergency contacts who are outside of your area. Make sure to practice your plan at least twice a year.
3. Find the right information
Again, your area poses specific risks. In Arizona, flash fires are always a threat. On the coast or near rivers — flash floods. The Midwest is famous for “Tornado Alley”. So be informed on the natural disasters which are likely to occur in your area. As well, one family member should have knowledge of CPR and first aid.
Safety Tips for Lightning Storms, Flash Floods, and Tornados
Now that you are prepared, here are tips to stay safe depending on your situation.
If you are going outside, make sure to check current weather conditions on weather.gov. For those who find themselves outside during a storm, seek shelter immediately. If you hear the rumbles of thunder, then you are already close enough to be struck by lightning.
Sometimes it can be impossible to find shelter. In this case, stay away from tall trees and, if you are with a group of people, separate and lay close to the ground to avoid making yourself a more likely target.
In shelter, you need to avoid plumbing, sinks, showers, faucets, corded phones, computers, radios, windows, doors, porches, and do not lie on concrete floors or touch concrete walls.
Keep in mind, between 2007 and 2011, U.S. local fire departments reported 22,600 fires started due to lightning. To prevent fire damage from doing too much damage to your property, we recommend investing in a Standard STOP-FYRE® Fire Extinguisher to combat fires in and around your home. For farm areas, we recommend our High Capacity STOP-FYRE® Fire Extinguisher.
Know the difference between a tornado watch and warning:
1. Tornado watch - this means a tornado is possible.
2. Tornado warning - this means a tornado has already occurred or will occur soon. Seek shelter IMMEDIATELY.
During the tornado, you should cover yourself with something strong like a work table. If you don’t have this, then consider a mattress. As well, a bathtub can offer you some protection.
If you shop frequently, know the closest bathrooms, storage areas, and interior rooms that are away from windows. If in a car, seek to move out of the tornado's path, but if that is impossible, keep your head low and your seat belt fastened. Do not go under a bridge.
More people are killed by flash floods every year than by any other weather disaster.
Even 6 inches of water can have enough power to knock you over. Be safe and follow these tips:
• DO NOT drive on a flooded driveway.
• NEVER cross flooded areas, turn around.
• IMMEDIATELY move to higher ground.
• DO NOT walk in the water.
• DO NOT drink or eat anything that has come into contact with the water.
We hope these tips help you keep safe during lightning storms, tornadoes, and flash floods. The main takeaway is this: prepare for your specific area and have a plan ready. Having a kit of food and water could save your family’s life. Of course, you are preparing for something that may never happen. But as the saying goes, better safe than sorry. So, prepare yourself for future emergencies!