June 30, 2014 @ 12:00am

Severe Weather Safety

Do you know the difference between a severe thunderstorm watch and a warning? A severe thunderstorm watch means there are possible severe thunderstorms in your area.  A severe thunderstorm warning means severe weather has been reported and indicates imminent danger.  A thunderstorm is considered severe if it produces hail at least 1 inch in diameter or has wind gusts of at least 58 miles per hour.

Being prepared before severe weather strikes is essential to weather the storm.  Make sure you know how your local community warns for severe thunderstorms or tornadoes.  Have a safe place to gather in your home during storms, away from windows and glass.  Keep trees and shrubs trimmed and remove damaged branches.  Secure all out buildings and outside furniture.  Put together an emergency preparedness kit.

During a storm make sure you take shelter.  In your home take retreat in the basement away from windows and doors.  If you don’t have a basement go to an interior room away from windows and doors, most of the time this is a hallway or a bathroom.  Do not take a bath or shower during a thunderstorm.  Avoid electrical equipment, battery-powered TV and radios are better options.  If you are driving, safety exit the road, park and put your flasher on.  Stay in the vehicle and avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity.  If you are outside, avoid high ground, water, tall isolated trees, and metal objects.  Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are not safe.

When the storm has passed assess any damage to your home or property.  Call family members to make sure they are safe, check on neighbors, if someone is hurt call 911.  Call your insurance agent to file a claim.  An underwriter will come out to assess the damage.  Only trust contractors that are licensed and have good reputations in your community to fix any damage to your property caused by the storm.  Your insurance agent is a good resource to help find qualified contractors to fix storm damage.

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