The Duncan Banner

October 4, 2013

Severe storm safety tips offered by American Red Cross chapter

Football games, storm caution


The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — American Red Cross in Oklahoma City has released some safety tips for Oklahomans as a strong chance of severe thunderstorms increases as the day continues. They noted that with football games scheduled for tonight, there is a concern for the safety of those on the field and in the stands.

“In light of the chance for severe weather across Oklahoma tonight, the American Red Cross offers the following checklist to help residents “Be Red Cross Ready” in the event that local authorities issue a severe thunderstorm warning,” said Ken Garcia with the ARC. “This is especially true with the high school football games planned for tonight.”



Before Lightning Strikes

Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of light or increasing winds. Listen for the sound of thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately. The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.



When Storm Approaches

Find shelter in a building or car. Keep car windows closed and avoid convertibles.

Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity.  Unplug appliances. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. (Leaving electric lights on, however, does not increase the chances of your home being struck by lightening.)

Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.



If Caught Outside

Go to low-lying, open place away from trees, poles or metal objects. Make sure the place you pick is not flooding.

Make yourself the smallest target possible. Squat low to the ground. Place you hands on you knees with your head between them.

If you are in the woods, take shelter under the shorter trees.

If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately.



If Someone Is Struck By Lightning

People struck by lightning carry no electrical charge and can be handled safely.

Call for help. Get someone to dial 9-1-1 or your local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) number.

Give first aid. If the heart has stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR.  



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 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, hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy building. . If you are in a car or mobile home, get out immediately and head to the nearest building for safety.  If you are outside and there are no buildings, lie flat in a low lying area or ditch and cover your head with your arms and hands.



Preparing for High Winds: Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, then strategically removing 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.



RED CROSS APPS

The Red Cross has free mobile apps, like the Tornado App, that provide information on what to do before, during and after emergencies including developing an emergency plan. People can use the ‘Make a Plan’ feature in the apps to create their plan and then share it with their loved ones. The preloaded content in the apps gives people access to vital information to use during emergencies, even if they can’t connect to the internet. The apps can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.