Severe weather tips

With the recent unfortunate event of the Oklahoma tornado, I thought it would be appropriate to share some thunderstorm and tornado safety tips.

Thunderstorm/ Lightning

- Each year lightning causes 12 fire related deaths and 25,000 total fires
- Each year lightning is responsible for 37 deaths, 300 injuries and $1 billion in damages

Lightning Myths:
Myth: If you seek shelter under a tree during a thunderstorm you are safe.
Fact: Being under a tree is the second leading cause of lightning casualties.
Myth: Rubber tires on a car protect you from lightning.
Fact: Most cars are safe from lightning; however it is the metal roof and sides that protect you.
Myth: Lightning never strikes the same place twice.
Fact: Lightning strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it is a tall, pointy, isolated object.

Lightning Safety:
- Stay off phones
- Don’t touch electrical equipment
- Avoid plumbing, that means no washing hands, taking showers or doing dishes
- Stay away from windows, doors and porches
- Do not swim
- Do not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls

How to prepare:
- Discuss thunderstorm and lightning safety with every member of your household
- Have an emergency kit:
o Water – 1 gallon, per person, per day
o Non-perishable food that is easy to eat without reheating
o If you have children, consider boxed or powdered milk
o Flash light
o Battery powered/crank radio
o Extra batteries
o First aid kid
o Medications (at least a 7 day supply)
o Cell phone with charger
o Family and emergency contact information o Multi-purpose tool
o Personal hygiene items o Extra cash in small denominations
o Make sure your gas tank is full


- Tornadoes cause an average of 60-65 fatalities a year
- Tornadoes cause an average of 1,500 injuries a year
- Tornadoes can produce wind speeds in excess of 200 mph
- Tornadoes can be 1 mile wide and stay on the ground for over 500 miles

Tornado Myths:
Myths: A tornado causes buildings to explode as it passes.
Fact: Violent winds and debris cause the most structural damage.
Myth: Open windows before a tornado to equalize pressure and minimize damage.
Fact: All buildings leak air, leave the windows closed.
Myth: Lakes, rivers, and mountains protect areas from tornadoes.
Fact: No geographic location is safe.

Tornado safety:
- Avoid windows and glass
- Get in the basement, under steps or some kind of sturdy protections
- The smaller the area, the better as the wind does not gain as much force
- Cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag
- Get in the tornado position: crouch low, head down, protect the back of your head with your arms
- Do not go under where heavy objects are set like pianos and refrigerators
- If you live in a mobile home get out and seek shelter in a permanent or sturdy building
- If you are out in the open, get into the deepest depression you can find.  A shallow ditch is better
that the open plain

How to prepare:
- Know your community’s warning system
- Practice tornado drills so everyone knows what to do
- Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans and anything else that can become a projectile

Hopefully these few tips come in handy when faced with severe weather. If you have any other tips or advice please feel free to share. For after storm cleaning check out our blog “Here comes the sun: Cleaning up after a storm”.  And again, our thoughts and prayers are with those whom were affected by the Oklahoma tornado.

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