Prepare to stay safe after a natural disaster

From tornadoes to floods, natural disasters can cause destruction and power outages. It is important to be prepared with needed supplies, a plan, and safety knowledge.  

Put together an emergency preparedness kit that contains the essentials, including a first aid kit, flashlights, and batteries as well as enough food, water, and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. Keep your kit somewhere handy in case you have to evacuate your home in a hurry.

Get a weather radio to stay up-to-date on changes in the weather. Sign up for alerts to know if storms are coming your way. It is a good idea to utilize different forms of media, including following local news stations on social media. Some stations may even have an app that can be downloaded.

Make sure you are aware of the different weather terminology, such as the difference between a severe thunderstorm watch and a warning. A watch means there is the possibility of storms, and a warning means a storm has been reported and you should take cover.

Create a family plan for emergencies. Identify the responsibilities of each member of the family and places to meet in case you are separated. Ensure everyone knows what they need to do to stay safe.

      Also be armed with important electrical safety knowledge should a severe storm or flooding occur:

  • Do not step into a flooded basement or room if the water is covering electrical outlets, appliances, or cords.
  • Never attempt to turn off power at the breaker box or touch an electrical appliance if you are wet or in standing water. Call your electric utility to shut off power at the meter.
  • If an electrical appliance has been in contact with water, have a professional check it out before it is used. It may need to be repaired or replaced.
  • If the smell of gas is apparent or if there is a suspected leak in your house, leave immediately and call your gas utility.
  • If power lines are on the ground, stay far away from them and warn others to stay away.  Contact the local electric utility because the lines could still be live.
  • If driving, never get out of the car if there is a downed power line, and never drive over one.