When thunder roars, you go indoors. But lightning is only one of several risks to know about this severe weather season.
Kansas is prime real estate for severe weather. Spring time brings strong winds, heavy rains, lightning, hail and tornadoes. Knowing how to prepare for bad weather can help you and your family stay safe.
Weather alert radio
Select a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio with a battery backup to receive important alerts to severe weather.
Keep at least a three day supply of drinking water on hand. It is recommended to have a two week supply.
Keep your medications in a container that is easy to grab as you head to your emergency shelter. In your shelter keep a list of all your medications as a backup.
Keep at least three days of non-perishable food in your emergency shelter. It is recommended to have a two week supply.
A battery powered cell phone charger can help keep you connected if power outages are caused by severe weather.
Leave a pair of shoes in your shelter. The harder the sole of the shoe, the better.
If you become trapped in your shelter, you will need a way to alert others to your location. A loud whistle is the perfect solution.
If your power goes out, a flashlight will help you see your surroundings. If you need to escape to safety after a storm hits your area at night, being able to look out for sharp objects, downed power lines, etc. is critical.
Pick a kit that has various wound treatments (bandages, antibiotics, dressing, etc.), blankets, nonlatex gloves and tweezers. The American Red Cross has more information about how to build a first aid kit.
Creating an emergency plan
Panic and emergency can go hand in hand. When you make panic based decisions during an emergency, it can make a bad situation worse. That is why having a plan in place for an emergency, like severe weather, is important.
Getting a plan
Now is the best time to get a plan put together for your family to use in the event of an emergency. This can include:
- Understanding how to collect information about the emergency through radios and phones
- Knowing where your shelter is and the best way to access it
- Determining the best way to communicate with your family during an emergency
- Updating your emergency kit to replenish and replace expired products
Know where you nearest hospital is
If a storm hits and you are injured, call 911. If emergency dispatch recommends you try to go to the nearest ER, it is important to make sure you know where that is and how to get there.
At NMC Health, we have directional signs that help people locate our emergency department.
Assessing any specific needs your family has
If your family has any specific or special needs, take note of them. Think about anything from food restrictions, disabilities, language barriers, pets and the needs that go along with the young or elderly.
Putting process to paper
Once you have all this information collected, it is time to write it down, copy it and give it to all your family.
Ready.gov has a great resource for you to help with this process. Click here for more information.
A Tip From FEMA
If you are using a mobile phone, a text message may get through when a phone call will not. This is because a text message requires far less bandwidth than a phone call. Text messages may also save and then send automatically as soon as capacity becomes available.
There is an app for that
If you are looking for a way to receive notifications on your phone about weather alerts, as well as many other national, state and local emergencies, FEMA has a mobile app for iPhone and Android users.
Learn more, click here.
Pet Plans: Creating emergency plan for your pets
People aren’t unique when it comes to being affected by storms. Your pets will have needs as well. That is why having a emergency plan for your pets is important.
Carrying cases, ID tags, food and water are musts. Weather emergencies are stressful for pets too, so having familiar toys, treats and bedding can help calm them down. If you haven’t already, you should micro-chip your pet to help in the reunification process if they become lost.
Many hotels and public shelters won’t allow animals, so have a plan in place for where your pets can stay safe if your home isn’t an option.
If you are a livestock owner, a plan for them is also important. You can read more about emergency planning for large animals and household pets at the Ready campaign website.