Severe Weather Safety Tips
It’s severe weather season, that’s why Shaw media has put together a list of 17 tips to help you and your family get prepared for when bad weather strikes.
Tip 1: Have an emergency family plan
Before an emergency happens, sit down together and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go and what you will do in
Tip 2: Have an emergency kit ready to go.
Be sure to include the following: Bottled Water, Non-perishable Food, NOAA Radio, Flashlight and Batteries, Personal Hygiene, First Aid Kit, Whistle, Manual Can Opener, Copies of Important Documents, Blanket/Towel, Change of clothes, waterproof container
Tip 3: Know your local storm emergency warning systems
- An emergency outdoor warning siren can alert the general population of potential danger
- In Illinois, this siren is tested at 10 a.m. the first Tuesday of every month
- If you hear this siren — and it’s not a monthly test — the public should see it as a signal to seek shelter and tune in to radio or local media for more information
Tip 4: Talk to your kids about storms
Establish a routine for storms can also help a child’s anxiety, making the process familiar and expected. Most of all, keep yourself calm, as children feed off the emotions of their parents.
Tip 5: Wear shoes
Many people can become stuck without shoes on their feet due to rubble and glass and need to be carried out.
Tip 6: What to do during a tornado watch:
- A watch is issued when weather conditions indicate a tornado is possible
- Be prepared to seek shelter
- Any rotating funnel-shaped clouds should be reported immediately to local authorities like emergency management or the police.
Tip 7: What to do during a tornado warning
- A tornado has been spotted by someone or indicated by weather radar
- Take shelter immediately
- Turn on a battery operated radio or TV, and wait for local updated information. Smartphones automatically receive warning signals
- The public should not call 9-1-1 unless they have an actual emergency
Tip 8: There’s a tornado warning, and I’m not at home
- Outdoors? If possible, seek a substantial building on the lowest floor, away from windows or doors. Otherwise find a low-lying area like a ditch or culvert, and shield your head with your hands. Beware of the potential for flash flooding.
- In a vehicle? Do not park under a bridge or overpass, which can create a wind-tunnel effect. Do not try to “outrun” a tornado, as hail, heavy rain and winds can impede movement. Further, tornados can change directions quickly. Exit the vehicle and find a substantial building or low-lying area away from vehicles.
Tip 9: Thunderstorm tips
- Get out of water as soon as possible - including, but not limited to bathing, swimming or boating
- Try not to use electrical equipment or the telephone
- If outside, spread out if you are in a group. Find a low-lying area away from trees, fences and poles. Crouch down low on the balls of your feet.
- Drop to your knees and bend forward with your hands on your knees should your hair stand on end. This indicates that lightning is about to strike and you want to make yourself as small of a target as possible.
Tip 10: What to do when driving in a thunderstorm
- Park in an area way from tall objects like poles or trees
- Turn on your emergency flashers
- Stay inside your vehicle, and avoid touching any metal objects while you wait
Tip 11: Notify your local fire department of any obvious hazards, such as downed power lines
Tip 12: What to do after a storm damages your home or property
- Assess your home: has there been wind or hail damage? These are the most common claims filed with insurance agencies, so be sure to talk to an agent about coverage
- Are there any holes in the roof or missing shingles? It’s important to make sure your home remains watertight
- Siding may be scratched or dented. Look for any punctures
- Cracks in windows, or damage to a window or door frame should be
Tip 13: Receive damage to your windows?
- Wear gloves and carefully tape damaged areas to prevent glass falling into your home
- Use a tarp or board to keep the elements out, and help prevent injury in the case of broken glass
- Since many homeowners don’t plan for a window purchase, storm damage offers the opportunity to replace. New windows can mean lower utility usage
Tip 14: Inspect your basement, even if there is no exterior damage.
- Storm sewers can’t always keep up with water, causing backups into homes
- Consider water-sewer backup coverage, especially if your home has a finished basement
Tip 15: Beware hiring contractors that show up in unmarked trucks offering estimates after storm damage
- Illinois law requires that a company name and license be displayed on a work truck. Look at license plates and see if they are from out-of-state
- Never feel pressured to sign anything
- Working with a local contractor is a good idea
Tip 16: What to do when a tree has been damaged
- Prevention is desirable: Inspect your trees for damaged branches before a storm hits, and prune as needed
- Wind is the biggest culprit of tree damage, with evergreens, willows, birch and ornamental pear trees most susceptible to damage
- Prune broken branches off trees by making a clean cut
- For larger jobs, it’s advisable to contact an arborist
Tip 17: Filing insurance claims
- Call your agent and see what is, and what is not, covered
- Understand your deductible amount. If the damage does not exceed your deductible, consider calling a contractor without going through your insurance and fix it on your own
- Find out how much coverage you have for living expenses if you need to move out of your home during repairs
- Make sure to review your dwelling coverage amount annually to ensure it meets your needs