Personal Safety Tips

Severe Weather

Go indoors, into a sturdy interior room, preferably in a basement. Make sure to have everything you will need to stay informed, whether it's a NOAA weather radio, traditional radio, cell phone, or television. Be prepared to spend several hours inside your storm shelter if needed.

 

Flooding

Learn about your community's emergency plans, warning signals, evacuation routes, and locations of emergency shelters. Seek higher ground.

 

Winter Weather

1.  Preparation is the key to surviving a winter storm. Develop a plan of action to get all family members home or to another place of safety before the storm arrives. Once a winter storm watch is issued, you should continue your preparations by making sure your car has a full tank of gas. Stock up on food, medication, and first aid supplies. Keep flashlights and a portable radio handy, along with extra batteries. Be prepared for the possibility of power outages, and stay informed on the latest weather developments by listening to NOAA weather radio or commercial news media.

 2.  During winter storms, avoid over exertion. Cold temperatures and the extra strain of hard work such as shoveling snow, pushing a stalled car, or walking in deep snow against a strong cold wind can quickly produce over exertion and put and additional strain your heart.

 3.  Do you know the signs of hypothermia? Hypothermia occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat. Signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, slurred speech, drowsiness, exhaustion, and memory lapses. If you show any of these symptoms, get to a warm environment as soon as possible. You can stay warm by keeping yourself and your clothing dry. Wet clothing loses its insulating value and evaporation will cause additional cooling. Also avoid alcoholic beverages. Alcohol causes the body to lose heat more rapidly.

4.  Beware of the cold. At cold temperatures, the wind produces a dangerous chilling effect. A temperature of twenty degrees with a twenty mile an hour wind is equivalent to a temperature of ten below zero with no wind. If the wind increases to thirty five miles an hour at twenty degrees, the equivalent temperature is twenty below zero. Protection against frostbite is essential under these conditions. For the best protection against the cold, wear several layers of tightly woven, loose fitting and lightweight clothing. A lot of body heat is lost through your head. Keep your head covered and protect exposed skin such as your face, ears, and hands.

 

Heat

 1.  Drink plenty of fluids. During hot weather you will need to increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink.
 2.  Replace salt and minerals.  Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body. These are necessary for your body and must be replaced. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. However, if you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.
 3.  Schedule outdoor activities carefully. If you must be outdoors, try to limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours. Try to rest often in shady areas so that your body's thermostat will have a chance to recover.
 4.  Pace yourself. If you are not accustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP all activity. Get into a cool area or at least into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.
 5.  Use a buddy system. When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness.

 6.  Don’t leave children or pets in cars. Even in cool temperatures, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly. Even with the windows cracked open, interior temperatures can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes. Anyone or any pet left inside is at risk for serious heat-related illnesses or even death. Children who are left unattended in parked cars are at greatest risk for heat stroke, and possibly death.

 

Wildfire

If a fire nears, evacuate. Move to a safe location away from the path of the oncoming fire. Wear protective clothing - sturdy shoes, cotton or woolen clothing, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves, and a handkerchief to protect your face. Take your Disaster Supplies Kit. Lock your home. Tell someone when you left and where you are going. Choose a route away from fire hazards, while watching for changes in the speed and direction of fire and smoke.


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