Weather & Emergency Planning
In the event of a flash flood watch or warning, you should:
- Keep your automobile gas tank filled; if electric power is cut off, gas stations may not be able to operate pumps for several days.
- Have an Emergency Go Kit with enough water and non-perishable food for 3 days.
- Know your elevation above flood level.
- Store drinking water in various containers and clean bathtubs. Water service may be interrupted.
- Move to a safe area before access is cut off by floodwater.
- DO NOT attempt to drive over a flooded road—you could be trapped or stranded. The depth of the water is not always obvious, or the road could be washed away.
- If you can't see it, you can't be sure it's there.
- Be prepared to evacuate if necessary.
- Check evacuation routes from your home and your workplace.
- Be aware of creeks and other low-lying areas that are prone to sudden flooding.
If you feel an earthquake you should:
- Take cover under a desk, table, bed or door frame.
- Stay clear of windows and other glass.
- Stay put until the shaking stops.
- Find an open area clear of buildings and power lines if you are outdoors.
- Stop your vehicle (preferably in an open area).
- Listen to the radio and follow instructions.
- DO NOT enter damaged structures.
- Check all gas lines.
- Inspect chimney or have chimney inspected before using the fireplace.
- Expect to feel aftershocks, which are usually smaller in size, and take the aforementioned precautions.
Extreme cold consists of temperatures significantly lower than normal and can cause a number of health and safety concerns, including frostbite, hypothermia, carbon monoxide poisoning and fires from alternative heating sources.
When the outside temperature is extremely low, take these precautions:
- Be aware of the fire danger from space heaters and candles; keep such devices away from all flammable materials.
- Install recommended smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (at least one of each per floor in your home).
- Stay indoors and use safe heating sources.
- Do not use charcoal or other fuel-burning devices, such as grills, that produce carbon monoxide indoors.
- Stay dry and in wind protected areas outdoors.
- Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Wear mittens, a hat and cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
- Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids and eat high-caloric foods.
- Watch for signs of frostbite—skin appears white and waxy, numbness or no feeling in that area and/or possible blisters.
- Watch for signs of hypothermia—shivering and numbness, confusion or dizziness, stumbling and weakness, slow or slurred speech and shock.
- Go to a medical facility immediately if you or someone you know is experiencing signs of hypothermia or frostbite.
- Call the Hypothermia Hotline at 1 (800) 535-7252 if you see a homeless person stranded in the cold.
The heat index is a measurement that combines the effects of heat and humidity. It tells how hot it really feels when the effects of humidity are added to high temperatures. When heat and humidity combine to reduce the amount of evaporation of sweat from the body, outdoor exercise becomes dangerous even for those in good shape.
In the event of extreme heat, you should take the following precautions:
- Stay indoors as much as possible.
- Turn on the air-conditioner or fan.
- DO NOT leave children or pets in vehicles.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Wear light-colored, lightweight and loose-fitting clothes.
- Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside. SPF 15-30 is best.
- Limit exposure to the sun, especially between 10 AM and 3 PM when it is strongest
- Watch for symptoms of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Hurricanes are violently rotating windstorms, usually including heavy rains and winds of 74 miles per hour or higher. Hurricanes can cause flash flooding, downed trees, downed power lines, power outages and massive amount of debris on roads. The peak months for hurricanes are August and September, however, hurricane season extends from June 1 to November 30.
A hurricane WATCH means that a hurricane is possible within 36 hours.
A hurricane WARNING means that a hurricane is EXPECTED within 24 hours or less.
In the event of a hurricane watch or warning, you should:
- Listen to a battery-operated radio for news updates and evacuation routes.
- Take your Emergency Go Kit, which should have enough food and water for 3 days.
- Board up windows with plywood.
- Fill up your car with fuel.
- Bring pets inside. If instructed to evacuate, take them with you.
- Evacuate if told to do so
- Leave early so you are not trapped.
- Stay inside if you do not evacuate.
- Move to a small room, closet or hallway.
- Go to the first or second floor if you're in a multi-story building.
- Avoid using elevators.
- DO NOT walk or drive through moving water and find shelter immediately.
- DO NOT return home (if evacuated) until local authorities give the okay.
- Report any downed power lines immediately.
- Wait for the okay before drinking tap water.