Posts Tagged ‘severe weather safety’

Should You Stay or Should You Go? 4 Home Disaster Planning Tips

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

disaster planning at homeWhere is the safest place to be during a disaster? The answer is, it depends on the type of emergency situation you find yourself in. You'll either be safest by staying in your home or by getting far away from it very quickly. In either case it’s important to prepare for both options.

Shelter at Home

Your home shelter in some cases can be your entire house, but you should choose a particular room to deal with certain situations, such as tornadoes. Basements are an ideal location to shelter during severe weather. The below ground location is best for riding out tornados or severe winds. In any case, your shelter should be a strong interior room with as few windows and doors as possible. Move your emergency supplies into the room, and don't forget the battery-powered radio. Your home emergency kit should contain what you need to remain in your home for three or more days. The Department of Homeland Security has recommended these items:
  • Water—At least one gallon per person per day in sealed plastic containers
  • Food—Non-perishable foods that won't need to be cooked. Canned foods, nuts, dried fruit, peanut butter and granola bars are ideal
  • A manual can opener
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Flashlights
  • Extra batteries for both
  • Sanitation or "baby" wipes
  • Soap
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Garbage bags
  • Warm clothes for winter storms
  • First-aid kit
  • Local map
  • Utility and/or pocket knives
  • Plastic sheeting (preferably precut)
  • Duct tape
  • Dust masks or cotton t-shirt to filter dust
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Whistle—To signal for help
  • Entertainment items—Books, paper, pens, crayons, cards, etc.
  • Family communication list
Special items: Make sure you include diapers, baby food, medications and medical equipment, pet food, etc.

Sheltering Away from Home

In certain disasters such as a house fire or fallen tree where your home could be damaged, it may be necessary to leave your home. Your getaway bag should be a smaller version of your home kit. It should be pre-packed in a sturdy duffle-type bag and stored in a place where it can be accessed quickly. You will need smaller quantities of most items, because you will be moving to a shelter or pre-selected evacuation site. Make sure you also include some cash, important personal information (such as medical insurance numbers) and a sleeping bag or blankets. Consider carefully what you will need, and if in doubt, put it in the bag. It is better to find you didn't need something (or even discard it) than discover you left it at home. Image courtesy of artur84 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Download your free home disaster planning eBook  


 

Riding the Storm Out: How to Stay Safe in Severe Weather

Monday, April 29th, 2013

april showersWeather wise, most of us can agree it was a long, unpredictable winter. But with spring temperatures finally here—by the way, you’re on probation, Punxsutawney Phil—we’ve had more than our fill of April showers…with more yet to come. And unfortunately, some are guaranteed to take a turn for the dangerous. In 2011, severe thunderstorms (including tornado events) cost $25.9 billion in insured losses—more than double the previous record—and $46.6 billion in economic losses, according to risk management group Munich Re. It was also the deadliest thunderstorm season in over 75 years, with 553 direct fatalities. To learn more about losses due to natural disasters, download our free publication Tradition, Technology and Taking Risks: Five Modern Tips for Marketing Your Insurance Business. At any given moment, about 2,000 thunderstorms can be moving over the face of the earth. Even though most severe storms last less than 30 minutes, some form long-lasting squall lines or expand into mighty super cells that can spawn tornadoes. In general, the dangers of thunderstorms include strong winds, heavy rain, hail, flooding, and of course lightning. So, how should you prepare to ride out the storm and stay safe when spring showers turn ugly? Since spring weather conditions can change rapidly, it’s important to keep up with the forecasts via weather updates on your smart phone, alerts on your desktop at work, or simply switching on the TV or radio when you have a free minute. A severe thunderstorm watch means unsafe storm activity is possible in your area, so plan your day accordingly. A storm warning, on the other hand, means stop what you’re doing and take cover now. If you’re outdoors and a strong storm catches you by surprise, stay low and seek shelter as fast as possible. If you’re in a group, spread out rather than huddling together (thus making yourself a larger target). Don’t get close to trees, metal objects or water. Finally, use your head: Feeling your hair stand on end is a sign that lightning will strike any second; drop to your knees and crouch down versus laying flat on the ground. Should a severe storm strike while traveling in your car, pull onto the shoulder and turn on your emergency flashers. Again, keep your distance from tall trees and, surprisingly, highway underpasses that can flood or become clogged with other vehicles or debris. Remain inside the car but avoid touching metal objects whenever possible. Once it seems safe to resume driving, avoid roads that are covered by water; shallow-looking spots can be deceiving and may stall or sweep away a vehicle. Being indoors during a severe thunderstorm may be the best case scenario, but there are still plenty of precautions to heed, starting with staying off the phone or using any electrical equipment. Common sense will tell you to also stay out of the shower or bath during unstable weather to avoid electrocution. Unplugging computers and appliances is another smart move—and speaking of moves, move away from windows and hunker down with your flashlight in a sturdy interior room. By familiarizing yourself ahead of time with these simple tips, you’ve increased your odds of staying safe in the event of threatening thunderstorms. Now, bring on those May flowers! Sources: Insurance Information Institute (www.iii.org); USAToday.com Weather LDR Construction Services, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration has proudly served all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin since 1991. LDR specializes in the complete repair of fire, smoke, wind, water and vandalism damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit www.ldr4service.com or call 1-888-874-7066. Free Disaster Planning Checklist  


 

6 Severe Weather Safety Tips

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Wizard of OzHearing a tornado siren go off should not be your cue to begin your home storm preparation. That process should begin today, if it hasn’t already.

Keep supplies handy

If a tornado or severe thunderstorm warning hits, having the following items on hand can keep you and yours safe and prepared:
  • Wind-up flashlight (can usually be found in camping supplies at a department store).
  • Wind-up radio (same).
  • Battery-powered flashlight with extra batteries
  • Battery-powered radio w/extra batteries
  • Camping lantern
  • Candles
  • Matches
  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable snacks (trail mix, dry cereal, dried fruit)
  • Cell phone
  • Blankets
  • Pillows
  • Sleeping bags
  • Reading material
  • Games

Secure what you can

Some things, you can’t prepare for  -- such as the wind knocking a tree into your roof. Some things, you can prepare for – wind knocking out a window, for example.
  • Before a high-intensity storm, a quick preventive measure is taping an “X” on your windows with something as light as masking tape. It strengthens the integrity of the glass, and is easy to clean up after the danger has passed. Nailing down loose shingles and edging on your roof is also a must.
  • Also, if your house is the highest point in the surrounding area, you can install inexpensive metal poles or rebar on opposite corners of your house, above the roofline, to act as lightning rods. While it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing addition, it can save a host of damage during thunderstorms.
  • Put away all lawn furniture, toys and loose garbage in your garage.
If you find yourself in the path of an oncoming storm, know where you are going to take shelter beforehand. Hitting the panic button because you don’t know where to go is the worst plan going. If you have a storm cellar (and most people don’t), that’s obviously your go-to place in case of a tornado, severe thunderstorm or straight-line wind storm (derecho). Ditto for a basement (pick a spot in the northeast corner of the basement, if possible – tornadoes generally barrel in from the southwest). If you live in an apartment building or house with no basement, find an interior room away from glass and outside walls, if possible – probably a closet or bathroom. Drape a blanket or sleeping bag over yourself to shield you from falling debris or broken glass. Do not open windows to relieve pressure – it can make the situation worse! If you live in a mobile home, have these steps firmly in mind now that storm season has begun:
  • Do not stay in your home. Even with tie-down straps, mobile homes are like cardboard boxes in the teeth of a straight-line wind or tornado.
  • Establish a safe place that you can go in a hurry if there are serious tornado watches in the area. This could be a friend’s house, an apartment with an interior room, a church or perhaps a public building with a basement. If there’s a tornado warning posted nearby, be sure you can get to your safe spot very quickly. Otherwise, you’ll be caught in a car – and that’s worse.
  • Get Down. If you have no place else to go, find a culvert or a low spot on the ground and lie down flat, protecting your head with a firm object or your arms.
Understand that many injuries and deaths in serious storms can be avoided with the proper plan. Just make sure you have that plan ready and memorized before the storm hits – that way you won’t have to think. You just work the plan and live to tell about it. Free Disaster Planning Checklist  


 

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