No two storms are exactly the same. So why would you respond the same way every time severe weather hits? In the Quad Cities, we face different severe weather hazards throughout the year. And these create more than material damage to our homes and property– they also create threats to our families. At Werner, we help families pick up the pieces after severe weather. And as a local, family-owned business, we also care about the safety of those in our community. While many do understand the danger that severe weather can cause in the Quad Cities, it can be too easy to overlook the threats when thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes or floods strike in the spring and summer. And many also feel confused about the proper steps to take under different circumstances. Here are a few things to remember this season to keep your family safe.
Understand the difference between a watch and a warning.
When it comes to severe storms, thunderstorms, tornadoes and floods, pay close attention to warning systems. When your area is under a watch, it means that the storms are possible. This is when you should review your emergency plans, check your supplies, and be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued. (And make sure to stay informed during this time.) When a watch becomes a warning, it means that thunderstorms, tornadoes, floods or severe weather have been reported or indicated by radar. Warnings (severe thunderstorm, tornado, flood) mean it’s time to act now.
Create a family disaster plan and practice your response to disasters.
Before severe weather hits, being prepared is one of the most important ways to stay safe. Check out our post for more tips about preparing a disaster plan, including who to involve and what to include. It’s also important to actually practice what you would do when a tornado or severe storm warning happens. That means having family tornado or storm drills. (This also makes the entire prospect less frightening or shocking when the time comes.)
Find shelter immediately.
Once a warning happens, finding appropriate shelter is the top priority. In the case of a tornado, basements and windowless interior rooms are best. If a basement isn’t an option, closets and bathrooms can also be viable options. Getting indoors during severe thunderstorms is also imperative. To protect yourself from lightning strikes, stay away from concrete walls and floors since lightning can travel through them. While being indoors os important, you’ll also want to consider these tips:
- Stay off corded phones, computers and electrical equipment that you could be in direct contact with.
- Unplug the devices that could short circuit.
- Don’t wash your hands, take a shower, or wash dishes.
- Stay away from windows and doors.
Once the storms pass, wait at least 30 minutes before going back outdoors.
Know what to do if you are caught outside.
Most people know that when there is lightning, they should be inside. But if you are caught outside during a lightning storm, here are a few tips to stay safe:
- The first thing to do is to seek shelter in a sturdy place – like a building or a car.
- Do not seek shelter under a tree or near tall objects. Lightning will search for the tallest point in an area to strike. You also don’t want to be the tallest point in an area – so avoid large clearings.
- Stay away from fences, power lines and bodies of water.
Be aware of flood dangers.
In the Quad Cities, floods can be a real threat. And it’s important to understand the risks, even if your home isn’t threatened by rising waters. Consider these tips:
- When a flood or flash flood warning is issued in your area, go to higher ground and stay there.
- Stay away from floodwaters. As few as six inches of moving water can sweep you off your feet.
- If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way.
The bottom line
At Werner, we pride ourselves in securing homes and helping pick up the pieces after a disaster. Learn more about our work with storm, tornado and flooding.