Storms are acts of nature that help keep planet earth in balance with itself.
Tornadoes, hurricanes, torrential downpours, lightning strikes, blizzard like conditions, extreme hot and cold temperatures, snow, hail, sleet, ice storms and strong winds are all a part of the weather we experience on earth.
Storms range in strength from mild to uncomfortable to those that cause major destruction and loss of life. Due to satellite imaging of jet streams and ocean currents that can be monitored from outer space, most storms are predictable. But there are times when major weather related event happen that are unpredictable and can't be foreseen.
No matter how insignificant you think a storm may be, things can turn ugly quickly and catch you off guard. Along with severe storms may come floods that cause damage to homes, farm land, crops, fisheries, roads, bridges, dams, and other valuable resources.
When there is an ominous weather event, whether it is forecasted or a sudden event, you may have to take shelter, move to higher ground, or you may have to evacuate your home, city, or if it is serious enough, you may have to evacuate into another county or state.
Preparation is the key to surviving storms and other acts of nature. There are things you can do right now to help protect yourself and your family. You must always remember that you have to survive the storm and then survive the aftermath which may be more devastating than the actual weather related incident, earthquake, or other disaster.
The information below is provided by the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services.
Before, During, and After the Storm
Before The Storm:
1. Keep insurance policies, documents and other valuables in a safe-deposit box.
2. Check your homeowner's or renter's insurance for flood insurance coverage--if none exists, purchase.
3. Store supplies at work, home and car in handy locations:
a. First aid kit and essential medicines
b. Food (packaged, dried, canned, or food for special diets.)
c. Non-electric can opener.
d. Keep some cash on hand. ATM machines may not be working.
e. Portable radio, flashlights and extra batteries (stored in water-tight plastic bag.)
f. Store drinking water in closed, clean containers in case water service is interrupted. Allow one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days.
4. Keep your car fueled. If electric power is cut off, filling stations may not abe able to operate.
5. Know safe routes from your home or office to high, safe ground.
6. Keep sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber and other emergency building materials handy for waterproofing.
During The Storm
1. Avoid areas that are subject to sudden flooding.
2. Do not try to cross a flowing stream where water is above your knees. Even water as low as 6 inches deep may cause you to be swept away by strong currents.
3. Do not try to drive over a flooded road. This may cause you to be both stranded and trapped.
4. If your car stalls, abandon it IMMEDIATELY and seek higher ground. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.
5. Do not "sightsee" in flooded areas. Do not try to enter areas blocked off by local authorities.
6. Avoid unnecessary trips. If you must travel during the storm, dress in warm, loose layers of clothing. Advise others of your destination.
7. Use the telephony ONLY for emergency needs or to report dangerous conditions.
8. Tune to local radio or television stations for emergency information and instructions from local authorities.
9. If flooding is likely, and time permits, move valuable household possessions to the upper floors of your home.
10. If advised by local authorities to leave your home, move to a safe area before access is cut off by flood water. Establish an out-of-state "family contact" so that friends and relatives will know who to call to get information about where you are.
11. Before leaving, disconnect all electrical appliances, and if advised by your local utility, shut off electric circuits at the fuse panel and gas service at the meter.
After The Storm:
1. Do Not Turn Gas Back On Yourself. Rely on utility crews.
2. Do not use fresh foods or canned goods that have come in contact with flood waters.
3. Follow local instructions regarding the safety of drinking water. If in doubt, boil or purify water before drinking. Have wells pumped out and the water tested before drinking.
4. Avoid disaster areas; your presence could hamper rescue and other emergency operations, and you may be in danger.
5. Do not handle live electrical equipment in wet areas. If electrical equipment or appliances have been in contact with water, have them checked before use.
6. Avoid downed power lines and broken gas lines. Report them immediately to the electric or gas company, police or fire department.
7. Use flashlights--Not lanterns, matches or candles--to examine buildings; flammables may be inside.
8. Stay tuned to radio or television for information and instructions from local authorities.
No matter where you live, you are not immune to storms and/or storm related damage. Always make preparations and keep in mind how rapidly things can change and get out of hand. You have to know what to do before a storm hits, what to do during a storm, and what to do after the storm passes.
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