Do You Know What to do During a Weather Emergency?

  • Daily routines can be disrupted with little or no warning by a catastrophic event, such as an earthquake, tornado, hurricane or flood. Help might not always be available, so it's important to plan ahead.

    When you face a weather-related emergency, try to stay informed through radio, TV or the Internet. In some cases, however, cable, electric and cell phone service can be knocked out, making communication nearly impossible. The National Safety Council recommends the following general precautions that apply to many disaster situations:

    • Have an emergency kit in your car and at least three days of food and water at home
    • Be sure to store all important documents – birth certificates, insurance policies, etc. – in a fire-proof safe or safety deposit box
    • Assign one family member  to learn first aid and CPR
    • Know how to shut off utilities


    When the Ground Starts to Shake


    While California has seen the most serious earthquakes in the continental U.S., tremors occur all over the country. In fact, there is a significant risk of a major quake along the New Madrid Fault in the central U.S. within the next few decades, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Earthquakes  are difficult to predict, but there are ways to secure your belongings and protect your family.

    • Secure large appliances and install flexible gas and water connections
    • Anchor top-heavy furniture to the wall and place heavy objects on lower shelves
    • Never hang anything heavy above where you sleep
    • If you're outside when an earthquake occurs, move away from buildings, street lights, utility wires and overpasses
    • If you are inside, get under a sturdy table or desk and hold onto it; if that's not possible, crouch in a strongly supported doorway or inside corner and protect your head
    • Stay clear of windows


    When the Waters Rise


    Floods can happen anywhere at any time of year, but densely populated areas have a high risk for flash floods. Almost half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle related, according to the National Weather Service.  If you're driving and approach a water-covered road, turn around. Just 6 inches of water can stall a vehicle, and 2 feet can float most cars, trucks and SUVs. Here are some other tips to stay high and dry:

    • Know your proximity to rivers, streams and dams
    • During heavy rain, avoid underpasses, underground parking garages and basements
    • Avoid hiking or camping if thunderstorms are predicted
    • Develop an evacuation plan for your family
    • Don't walk in water above your ankles; you can be swept off your feet in as little as 6 inches of rushing water
    • Turn off the electricity and other utilities


    When Coastal Catastrophes Strike


    Hurricane season runs from June through November, peaking in early to mid-September, but hurricanes can happen any time. Unlike tornadoes and earthquakes, they can be forecasted several days ahead of landfall, so you should have time to take the following precautions:

    • Know where to go in the event of an evacuation and how to get there
    • Contact your local emergency management agency for information
    • Learn about safe cleanup from local authorities, or visit
    • Establish an assembly point for family members to meet if separated, and choose one person everyone can contact with their whereabouts and status
    • Board up windows and secure loose items like patio furniture
    • Listen for warning sirens, stay away from windows and exterior doors, and seek shelter in a bathroom or basement
    • Stay indoors until authorities tell you it's safe to go outside
    • Heed flood precautions above


    When Tornadoes Carve Their Path


    Not one state in the continental U.S. has escaped the wrath of tornadoes. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, tornado season runs between May and June in the Southern Plains, June and July in the central United States, and earlier in the spring on the Gulf Coast. But tornadoes can strike at any time of the year. If a tornado is spotted:

    • Seek shelter immediately
    • If you're away from home, seek out a basement, interior corridor, tunnel, underground parking lot or subway
    • Avoid auditoriums, upper floors of buildings, trailers and parked vehicles
    • Stay away from all windows
    • If you're out in the open, lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area and protect your head; stay away from poles or overhead lines
    • If you're driving, drive at right angles to the tornado's path; if you can't escape it, get out of the vehicle and seek a low-lying area
    • If you're at home, head for the basement and take cover under a heavy table or workbench; if you don't have a basement, go into a windowless room in the center of the house
    • Stay away from windows and cover yourself with a rug for protection against flying glass and debris
    • Know the difference between a watch (conditions are favorable for a tornado to form) and a warning (a tornado has been spotted in your area and you should take shelter immediately)
  • Car Emergency Kit

    Be prepared in case of an emergency.​

    Be Prepared

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The National Safety Council saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy.

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