WHAT TO DO DURING A STORM
Damaging wind is caused by cyclones, tornadoes or areas of very low pressure air called deep depressions. The MetService issues a strong wind warning when winds of over 87km/h are expected over land. Follow these steps to get through the dangers of strong winds:
Before a storm
Getting ready before a cyclone strikes and it will help reduce damage to your home and business and help you survive.
- Develop a Household Emergency Plan and prepare an Emergency Survival Kit so that you can cope with being on your own for three days or more
- Check the that your roof and guttering is secure every two years
- Keep materials at hand for repairing windows, such as tarpaulins, boards and duct tape
- If you are renovating or building, make sure all work complies with building code which has specific standards to minimize storm damage
When a warning is issued
- Pick up any debris around your house that could become airborne
- Bring rubbish bins indoors
- Bring pets inside. Move stock to shelter
- Listen to your local radio station for information
During a storm
- Open a window on the side of the building away from the wind. This will relieve pressure on the roof and help prevent it lifting
- Close all curtains to slow down flying glass and airborne objects
- Stay away from doors and windows. If the wind becomes destructive, shelter further inside the house
- Don't walk around outside. Don't drive unless absolutely necessary
WHAT TO DO AFTER A STORM
- Continue listening to local radio or television stations or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions. Access may be limited to some parts of the community, or roads may be blocked.
- Help a neighbor who may require special assistance—infants, elderly people and people with disabilities. Elderly people and people with disabilities may require additional assistance. People who care for them or who have large families may need additional assistance caring for several people in emergency situations.
- Stay away from storm-damaged areas. You may be putting yourself at further risk from the residual effects of severe thunderstorms.
- Watch out for fallen power lines and report them immediately. Reporting potential hazards will get the utilities turned off as quickly as possible, preventing further hazard and injury.
WHAT TO DO IF SOMEONE IS STRUCK BY LIGHTNING
- Call for help. Get someone to dial 9-1-1 or your local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) number. Medical attention is needed as quickly as possible.
- Give first aid. If breathing has stopped, begin rescue breathing. If the heart has stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR. If the person has a pulse and is breathing, look and care for other possible injuries.
- Check for burns in two places. The injured person has received an electrical shock and may be burned, both where they were struck and where the electricity left their body. Being struck by lightning can also cause nervous system damage, broken bones and loss of hearing or eyesight. People struck by lightning carry no electrical charge that can shock other people, and they can be handled safely.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A STORM
- Continue listening to local radio or television stations or an NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions. Access may be limited to some parts of the community, or roads may be blocked.
- Help a neighbor who may require special assistance—infants, elderly people and people with disabilities. Elderly people and people with disabilities may require additional assistance. People who care for them or who have large families may need additional assistance in emergency situations.
- Help injured or trapped persons. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.
- Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately. Reporting potential hazards will get the utilities turned off as quickly as possible, preventing further hazard and injury.
- Avoid disaster areas. Your presence might hamper rescue and other emergency operations, and put you at further risk from the residual effects of tornadoes.
- Stay out of damaged buildings. Tornadoes can cause great damage, creating further hazards. If you are away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe.
- When entering damaged buildings, use extreme caution. Moving through debris presents further hazards. Carefully watch every step you take.
- Wear sturdy shoes. The most common injury following a disaster is cut feet. Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights when examining buildings. Battery-powered lighting is the safest and easiest, preventing fire hazard for the user, occupants and building. Do not use candles at any time.
- Examine walls, floors, doors, staircases and windows to make sure that the building is not in danger of collapsing.
- Look for fire hazards. There may be broken or leaking gas lines, or damage to electrical systems. Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Fire is the most frequent hazard following other disasters.
- Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas using the outside main valve if you can, and call the gas company from a neighbor's home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
- Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell burning insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice. Electrical equipment should be checked and dried before being returned to service.
- Watch for loose plaster, drywall and ceilings that could fall.
- Take pictures of the damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance claims.
- Use the telephone only for emergency calls. Telephone lines are frequently overwhelmed in disaster situations. They need to be clear for emergency calls to get through.
WHAT TO DO DURING A TORNADO
If you are under a tornado WARNING, seek shelter immediately!
|If you are in:
|A structure (e.g. residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building)
||Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.
|A vehicle, trailer, or mobile home
|Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.
|The outside with no shelter
Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.
WHAT TO DO DURING A HURRICANE
If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:
- Listen to the radio or TV for information.
- Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
- Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
- Turn off propane tanks.· Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
- Moor your boat if time permits.
- Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
You should evacuate under the following conditions:
- If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
- If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure—such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well fastened to the ground.
- If you live in a high-rise building—hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
- If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
- If you feel you are in danger.
If you are unable to evacuate, go to your safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:
- Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
- Close all interior doors—secure and brace external doors.
- Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm - winds will pick up again.
- Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
- Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
WHAT TO DO DURING A FLOOD
If a flood is likely in your area, you should:
- Listen to the radio or television for information.
- Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
- Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.
If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:
- Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
- Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.
Driving Flood Facts
The following are important points to remember when driving in flood conditions:
- Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
- A foot of water will float many vehicles.
- Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.
AFTER A FLOOD: THE FIRST STEPS
Your home has been flooded. Although floodwaters may be down in some areas, many dangers still exist. Here are things to remember in the days ahead.
The American Red Cross can help you by providing you with a voucher to purchase new clothing, groceries, essential medications, bedding, essential furnishings and other items to meet emergency needs. Listen to local radio stations to find out where to go for this assistance, or look up American Red Cross in the phone book and call.
The Red Cross can provide you with a cleanup kit: mop, broom, bucket and cleaning supplies.
Contact your insurance agent to discuss claims.
Listen to your radio for information on assistance that may be provided by the state or federal government and other organizations.
If you hire cleanup or repair contractors, be sure they are qualified to do the job. Be wary of people who drive through neighborhoods offering help in cleaning up or repairing your home. Check references.
Roads may be closed because they have been damaged or are covered by water. Barricades have been placed for your protection. If you come upon a barricade or a flooded road, go another way.
Keep listening to the radio for news about what to do, where to go or places to avoid.
Emergency workers will be assisting people in flooded areas. You can help them by staying off the roads and out of the way.
If you must walk or drive in areas that have been flooded:
Stay on firm ground. Moving water only six inches deep can sweep you off your feet. Standing water may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
Flooding may have caused familiar places to change. Floodwaters often erode roads and walkways. Flood debris may hide animals and broken bottles, and it is also very slippery. Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters.
Play it safe. Additional flooding or flash floods can occur. Listen for local warnings and information. If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, get out immediately and climb to higher ground.
A flood can cause emotional and physical stress. You need to look after yourself and your family as you focus on cleanup and repair.
Rest often and eat well.
Keep a manageable schedule. Make a list and do jobs one at a time.
Discuss your concerns with others and seek help. Contact the Red Cross for information on emotional support available in your area.
Cleaning Up and Repairing Your Home
Turn off the electricity at the main breaker of your fuse box, even if the power is off in your community. That way, you can decide when your home is dry enough to turn it back on.
Get a copy of Repairing Your Flooded Home. It will tell you:
How to enter your home safely
How to protect your home and belongings from further damage
How to record damage to support insurance claims and requests for assistance
- How to check for gas or water leaks and how to have service restored
- How to clean up appliances, furniture, floors and other belongings