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SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS

EMERGENCY SUPPLY KIT

The Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety urges Texans to prepare for severe storms before they strike.  Your family should have an emergency supply kit on hand, maintaining supplies in water resistant, easy-to-lift containers you can move rapidly if necessary.  This supply kit is appropriate for severe weather events and other emergencies as well.  It should include:

  • First-aid kit
  • Cash (power outages mean banks and ATMs may be unavailable)
  • Battery-operated radio
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Important documents and records, photo Ids, proof of residence
  • 3-day supply of non-perishable food, one gallon of bottled water per person per day, coolers for food and ice storage
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Blankets, sleeping bags and extra clothing
  • Extra prescription medications, extra written copies of prescriptions, hearing aids, other special medical items
  • Eyeglasses and sunglasses
  • Extra keys
  • Toilet paper, clean-up supplies, duct tape, tarp, rope
  • Can opener, knife, tools
  • Booster cables, road maps
  • Special supplies needed for babies, older adults or pets

Remember to change perishable supplies and water every six months.  For more information on Severe Weather Awareness Week, see the Division of Emergency Management Web site.

TORNADO SAFETY FOR TEXANS

Tornadoes can occur at any time of year in Texas, including December, but they happen most often in spring and summer.  Spokesmen for the Division of Emergency Management urge Texans to learn what to do when a tornado is sighted.  The most important rule is to get low and stay low.

  • Seek shelter in an interior room on the lowest floor of the home, such as a bathroom, closet, or room without windows.
  • Go to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor of the office building, or to the designated shelter area.
  • If traveling, leave your motor home and take shelter in a nearby building.  If no building is nearby, lie flat in a ditch or ravine.  Mobile home parks should have a designated area, as well as a monitor to track broadcasts during severe weather.
  • Never stay inside a car.  Leave the car and lie flat in a ditch or ravine.  If a building is nearby, take shelter inside.  Never try to outrun a tornado in your car.
  • At school, follow plans and go to a designated shelter area, usually the school’s interior hallway on the lowest floor.  Stay out of auditorium, gyms and other areas with wide, free-span roofs.  If you are in a portable or manufactured building, go to a nearby permanent structure or take cover outside on low, protected ground.
  • Go to the interior rooms and halls on the lowest floor of a shopping center.  Do not leave the shopping center to get in your car.
  • If you are in open country, take cover on low, protected ground.
  • Avoid areas near exterior glass or doors, areas along exterior walls, or rooms with wide expanse roofs – such as auditoriums, cafeterias and gyms.
  • Learn the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning.  A Tornado Watch means watch the sky.  A Tornado Warning means a tornado is on the ground and you must seek shelter immediately.


WHEN FLOODWATERS COVER THE ROAD, BACK UP

The Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety urges drivers to exercise extreme caution during severe rain events.

Flooding is the most common cause of weather-related deaths in Texas.  As little as six inches of water can knock adults off their feet.  Vehicles aren’t safe either.  When drivers see water across a road, they need to back away and choose a different route.

Never drive through water on a road.  Water can be deeper than it appears and water levels can rise very quickly.  Floodwaters erode roadways.  A missing section of road, even a missing bridge, will not be visible with water running across the area.

If a car stalls in floodwater, get out quickly and move to higher ground.  Floodwaters may still be rising and the car could be swept away at any moment.

Water displaces 1,500 pounds of weight for every foot that it rises.  In other words, if a car weighs 3,000 pounds, it takes only two feet of water to float it.  Cars can become death traps because electric windows and door locks can short out when water reaches them, trapping occupants inside


SAFETY TIPS WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES

The Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety urges Texans to take precautions during lightning storms because lightning is the second most common cause of weather-related deaths in the state, after flooding.  Here are some important tips to protect yourself and your family.

Lightning tends to strike tall objects as well as metal objects, and can travel through moist soils for dozens of feet.  Move into a sturdy building and stay away from windows and doors.  For increased protection, avoid electric appliances or metal plumbing.  Stay off the telephone.

If you are outside, the interior of a car, truck or bus is relatively safe from lightning.  To be safe, do not touch metal on the inside of the vehicle.  The outside bed of a truck is a deadly location.  Do not lean against a car or truck – get inside the vehicle quickly.

If you are outdoors with no shelter available, stay low.  Move away from hills and high places, and avoid tall, isolated trees.  Do not touch metal objects, such as tennis rackets, baseball bats or golf clubs.  Do not ride bicycles, or lean against fences or metal sheds.

If you feel your hair suddenly stand on end, it means you may be a lightning target.  Crouch low on the balls of your feet and try not to touch the ground with your knees or hands.  Avoid wet areas that can conduct the lightning charge.


DELAY THE GAME WHEN THUNDERSTORMS APPROACH

The Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety warns the public that sports fields are dangerous during thunderstorms.

Sports fields are large, open areas where people are often the tallest objects.  Metal bleachers, fences, light poles and goal posts attract lightning.  When lightning hits these objects, the charge travels along the object, potentially injuring anyone in contact with the metal.  Lightning can bounce off any of these objects and strike people nearby.

Schools, athletic programs, day care centers, and summer camps, as well as coaches, referees and parents participating in field events need to understand the dangers of lightning.  They should be prepared to suspend games and move the players and spectators inside nearby buildings or into cars and buses until the storm threat passes.

The Division of Emergency Management offers the following lightning safety tips.

  • If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.
  • If you are outdoors with no shelter available, stay low.
  • Move away from hills and high places, and avoid tall, isolated trees.
  • Do not touch metal objects, such as tennis rackets, baseball bats or golf clubs.
  • Do not ride bicycles, or lean against fences or metal sheds.
  • Do not lean against a car or truck – get inside the vehicle quickly.
  • If you feel your hair suddenly stand on end, it means you may be a lightning target.  Crouch low on the balls of your feet and try not to touch the ground with your knees or hands. 
  • Avoid wet areas that can conduct the lightning charge.
Miller Grove Texas volunteer fire depart address.  Station 13 7707 FM275 South Cumby Texas 75482.  Phone 903/382-3505