“Isaac” is knocking at our door. The first feeder bands are coming over our area. Soon it will be storming outside the window. There may be big flashes of lightning, booming and rolling thunder, crackling, sizzling, and popping noises, and the sound of rain and water rushing from the rain gutters, wind tearing at the structures. All that may be a bit unsettling. We remind ourselves that this is no “Katrina”, but listening to the continuous feed of all the news stations and hyped up weather forecasters can rattle the nerves.
Conditions after a storm can be just as dangerous and damaging when residents don’t take the needed precautions. It’s a fact that the majority of people who die in a storm don’t die during the storm itself, but after or before the storm, when they think the risks are lowest. Flooding, and other hazards, can be more damaging and dangerous than the storm itself.
Don’t let the potential stress of the situation rob you of your common sense.
Here are a few things to keep in mind to avoid danger and keep your cool:
- Stay Inside Away From Windows
Lightning strikes, flash flooding, high winds can potentially knock a grown man down, flying debris can hit and injure you outdoors. During bad weather stay indoors in a safe place away from exterior windows. It can be fascinating to watch the electrical show of a storm, witnessing its awesome power and destructive capability. Flying debris, loose roof shingles, tree branches, pebbles and rocks and even super harsh winds and water, can all break windows. Stay safe in interior rooms away from windows, and exterior walls if at all possible.
- Do Not Drive
It should make sense not to drive when it is advised not to go outside. Flash flooding can be very dangerous. It is hard to see how deep water in the street is. A car can stall, or worse, get washed away with you in it. Drowning can become a real possibility. Also, remember to be courteous to your neighbors. If you find yourself driving through water, you may be pushing that water into somebody’s house. You would not want anybody to do that to you, causing you stress and damaging your property. If you get bored: maybe read the book you’ve been planning to pick up. Just find something safe to do indoors.
- Minimize Electricity Use
A lot of electrical activity or wind often comes with a storm. It’s safer to keep your electronics UNPLUGGED, not just turned off. A lightning strike can fry your equipment.
- Minimize Water Usage
Do your laundry, and clean the dishes before the bad weather hits. Try to minimize showers and baths during a storm. You don’t want to be caught in the shower when lightning strikes. Also, the sewer system may be overloaded with all the rain water. Nobody wants sewer backing up into the house. Nobody.
- Stay off the Phone
Telephones, especially those plugged directly into an outlet, use electricity that is separate from the electricity in your home. With a corded phone that is plugged into a jack, you will likely still have phone service, even if your electricity is out . Reserve it for emergencies only. You may be shocked through a phone line when it’s plugged into a live phone jack.
Cell phone towers often lose signals or networks get overloaded when storms are brewing and in the time after. To keep safe in a storm, have both a cell phone and a corded phone to use in case of an emergency. It’s best to let friends and family know where you are going to be and how to reach you before the weather turns bad.
- Have Bottled Water or Fill Safe Containers With Filtered Water
Having fresh water that is safe to drink is one of the most important things during bad weather or a storm. Clean water becomes absolutely essential if you have a baby, somebody who is ill or elderly living with you. Your city may have to issue an order to boil water in the aftermath of a storm. If the power goes out that may be tricky.
- Protect Your Pets
You need to find a way to bring your pets inside or under shelter during a storm. They are your responsibility. A barn, covered porch, storage shed, laundry room, or other safe room should work for your animals if you don’t want them in your home. In addition to doing the right thing, you will help prevent the spread of disease caused by animals eating decaying things, or worse, from dead animals that animal control officers don’t get to before people and children start getting out and about again after a storm.
- Remove Potential Debris
Any loose items can become projectiles in a storm; lawn chairs, umbrellas, plastic chairs, BBQ equipment, lawn equipment, potted plants, and even items you would consider heavy. Secure them indoors or in a sturdy storage. That should include extension cords, decorations or other semi-permanent lighting outdoors.
It is always safest to leave and leave early to avoid the traffic headaches. If you stay, or find yourself away from home worrying about your house, your loved ones… find ways to keep yourself occupied and calm:
- Don’t Overload On Coffee, Soft Drinks High in Caffeine or Alcohol
Most of us like our cup of coffee there is nothing wrong with that. Know yourself. Too much coffee or caffeine can make you anxious. A storm will most likely rattle the nerves already, don’t make it worse. A cup of mint or chamomile tea could be just the thing to soothe the nerves, help stay calm, and deliver a satisfying taste, hot or cold, sweetened or unsweetened, with or without lemon, ginger, the possibilities are endless.
It can be tempting to have a glass of your favorite beverage to soothe the nerves. Don’t overdo it, during a storm emergency situations could come up quickly. You don’t want to be impaired by alcohol when you need to react in an emergency. Also, sometimes people make questionable choices under the influence, getting bored and deciding to go joy-riding, for instance, could prove to be especially dangerous.
- Find Ways to Keep Yourself Occupied
While it’s important to stay informed about the weather and ever-changing situations, staying glued to the TV for extended hours of the day, watching the non-stop broadcast and hyped coverage may not be healthy for you. It could be worse for small children who will feel frightened and helpless not understanding what’s going on. Books, board games, story-time, etc. away from the TV, in a safe part of the house, will be good for them and you to pass the time and get your mind off the weather for a little while.