September - Surviving Inclement Weather
Surviving Inclement Weather
Each year, it seems that the weather patterns change, mostly for the worse instead of the better. This makes it more imperative for us to be aware of the possibilities of those changes getting closer "to our homes" and being prepared to mitigate our environment before these threats become a reality.
Before Lightning Strikes
- Keep an eye on the sky--look for darkening skies
- If you hear thunder, you are close enough for lightning to strike you. Go to a safe shelter!
- Listen to NOAA weather radio, commercial radio, and television to stay on top of the latest weather changes.
If a Storm is Approaching
- Find shelter in a building or car. Keep the windows up and avoid a convertible for obvious reasons.
- Avoid being around telephone lines and metal pipes as they can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances and avoid using the telephone or electrical appliances. (Leaving electric light on doesn't increase the chances of your home being struck by lightning).
- Avoid taking baths or showers or using running water.
- Turn off the air conditioner. Power surges from lightning can cause compressor overloads and create expensive repairs.
- If you have blinds, keep them drawn over the windows. If there are incidents of broken windows, the blinds will help prevent the glass from shattering throughout the home.
If Caught Outside
- If you are in the woods, take shelter under short trees.
- If you are in the water or on a lake, get to land and seek shelter immediately.
Protection from Outside
- Get in a low-lying area -- away from trees, power lines and metal poles. Make sure the area you pick isn't subject to flooding.
- Be a small target by squatting low to the ground. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. You want to be the smallest target that you can be.
- Do not lie on the ground because this creates a larger target.
After the Storm Passes
- Stay away from storm-damaged areas.
- Listen to the radio for information, instruction and updates.
If a Person is Struck by Lightning
- Because a person who is struck by lightning does not carry an electrical charge, they can be handled safely.
- Call for help, 911 or the local Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
- Give First Aid. If breathing has stopped, begin rescue breathing. If the heart has stopped, a trained person should start CPR. However, if the victim is breathing and has a pulse, look and take care of other injuries.
- If the victim has received an electric shock then they may be burned.
The burn can be where the bolt hit and where the bolt exited the body. Check for negative signs in the nervous system, broken bones, and possible loss of eyesight and/or hearing.
Prepare a Home Tornado Plan
- Pick a central place inside the home for the family to gather, if a tornado is approaching, maybe the basement or middle of the home or in a bathroom. Keep this location uncluttered.
- If you are in a high-rise building, with insufficient time to get to a lower floor, select a hallway in the center of the building.
Prepare a Home Response (Disaster) Kit
- Purchase a first aid kit with all the essentials.
- Canned foods and can opener.
- Have three gallons of water per person (turn new water about every 3 months)
- Have protective clothing, bedding and sleeping bags.
- Battery--powered radio, flashlights and extra batteries.
- Special items for babies, elderly and disabled members.
- A card with instructions on how to cut off gas, electricity, water, etc. (If required to do so).
Stay Tuned for Storm Warnings
- A Tornado Watch means there is possibly one in the area.
- A Tornado Warning means one has been spotted and may be headed for your area. SSI (Seek Safety Immediately).
Listen to your local radio and/or TV station for updates on tornados, watch for blowing debris and a freight train-like sound, which closely resembles a tornado. If one is approaching, the time is right to assemble the family in the center of the house, a low-lying area and out of the car or a mobile home.
After the Storm Passes
- Watch for fallen power lines or other possible live surges.
- Continue to listen to the radio for instructions.
- Inspect your home with a flashlight, candles should not be used because it could start a fire.
Since the first of this year, we have conducted seminars on FIRST AID/CPR at several MAFES locations. We have access to this free service through the IHL. I urge you to arrange a day with me for your employees to receive this certification. Not only will it be beneficial at your stations, but also in your private life, you may have the opportunity to save the life of a family member, friend or co-worker.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED!!
SAFETY SHOULD NEVER BE NEGLECTED!
Excerpts: NASD: www.redcross.org 2/13/2005
Ted Gordon is the Risk Management/Loss Control Manager for the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. His office is located in the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, in Verona, MS. His telephone number is 662-566-2201.