Press release from the American Red Cross:
American Red Cross Urges Area Residents to Prepare Now for Severe Weather Threats this Summer
Offers Advice during Severe Weather Preparedness Month
(May 3, 2010) – May is Severe Weather Preparedness Month and as tornado and flood season begins, the American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana urges residents in the region to take steps now to stay safe when tornadoes and floods threaten. “By preparing together for tornadoes and floods, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger,” says Katherine MacAulay, Director of Disaster Services. “We can help you and your family create a tornado and flood preparedness plan now, before our community is threatened by severe weather.”
As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life or death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for tornadoes by:
Creating and practicing a Home Tornado Plan: Pick a “safe room” or uncluttered area without windows where family members and pets could seek shelter on the lowest floor possible: a basement, a center hallway, a bathroom or a closet. Putting as many walls between you and the outside provides additional protection.
Assembling an Emergency Preparedness Kit: Kits should contain a first aid kit and essential medications, foods that don’t require cooking or refrigeration and a manual can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries and other emergency items for the whole family.
Heeding Storm Warnings: Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated storm information. A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area. When a tornado WARNING is issued, go to the safe room you picked to protect yourself from glass and other flying objects. If you are outside, seek shelter in a basement, tornado shelter or sturdy building. If you cannot get to a shelter, a recent study suggests that you get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt, and try to drive at right angles to the storm movement and out of the path of the tornado. If strong winds and flying debris occur while you are driving, pull over and park, keeping your seat belt on and the engine running. Crouch down below the windows, covering your head with your hands and a blanket if possible. If you are unable to get to a building or vehicle, as a last resort, lie in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.
Preparing for High Winds: Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, then strategically remove branches so that wind can blow through. Install permanent shutters on your windows and add protection to the outside areas of sliding glass doors. Strengthen garage doors and unreinforced masonry. Move or secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants, and anything else that can be picked up by wind and become a projectile.
In addition to creating and practicing a home tornado plan and assembling an emergency preparedness kit, the Red Cross also encourages individuals and families prepare for flooding by:
Heeding Flood Warnings: Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated flood information. A flood WATCH means flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area. A flood WARNING means flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
Relocating During Flood Warnings: Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankle, stop, turn around, and go another way. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.
The Red Cross urges all individuals and families to prepare for tornadoes and floods because the best protection is ultimately to be prepared ahead of time. For more information on tornado and flood preparedness, contact the American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana at (260) 484.9336 or visit www.redcrossofnei.org.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization â€” not a government agency â€” and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. The American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana serves seven counties: Allen, DeKalb, Noble, Steuben, Wells and Whitley Counties in Indiana and Williams County in Ohio. For more information, call (260) 484-9336 or 1-800-513-2599, or visit www.redcrossofnei.org.