Most everyone likes to be outside; playing in the park, swimming, fishing, playing in the back yard, digging for shells on the beach, or even playing in the snow. But because nature and the weather it brings is very powerful, we always need to be prepared for bad weather. We always need to know what to do to protect ourselves when Mother Nature is in a bad mood.
Thunder is the sound lightning makes, and because lightning is electricity, you never want to be in a place where the lightning can strike you. That is why the best place to be during a thunderstorm is indoors.
There are other things you need to remember about staying safe during a thunderstorm when you are inside your house or another building. You need to remember to:
- Stay away from water (washing dishes, taking a shower or bath). Lightning can travel through the glass of a window inside to the water, because water attracts lightning. If you are in the water when this happens, you will be struck by lightning.
- Don’t use a corded phone or other electronics. The lightning can strike the power lines outside your house and travel through the wires inside to the device. If you are using it, you will be struck by lightning.
- Stay away from the windows of your house. If you are caught outside during a thunderstorm with nowhere to go:
- Stay out of the water—including puddles.
- Try to get in a car but don’t touch any metal on the car.
- Don’t get under a tree.
- Don’t take cover under a shelter with a metal roof or other metal surfaces.
- Don’t huddle together with other people. Stay at least 15 feet from another person because that is the average distance lightning can travel between two objects once it strikes something.
If you are in an area where the storm conditions are right for a tornado or if a tornado has been sighted near your home, you need to do the following:
- Get inside! Go to the basement of your house, to a storm shelter that is in the ground, or to a room with no exterior (outside) walls. A closet or bathtub are good choices if you cannot get underground in a basement or storm shelter.
- If you are outside when this happens, do NOT get in a car. Get into a ditch if there is one and lay FLAT on the ground.
- If you are in a trailer or mobile home, GET OUT!
- Do not stand near a window.
- Open the windows in your house (a couple of inches is fine). Make sure you open windows facing all directions so the air can move through the house instead of building up pressure in your house.
- Keep an emergency kit in your house to take with you when you take cover during a tornado. The kit needs to have water, batteries, a flashlight, a blanket, some snacks, 1 or 2 day’s-worth of medicine if you take any, basic first-aid items, identification, and a list of bank account numbers, important phone numbers and passwords.
- Do NOT try to watch a tornado or outrun a tornado.
If you live in an area where there are earthquakes, anything hanging on the wall should be well-secured. This way, if the earthquake is only a small one, you will be less likely to have much damage.
In the event of a larger earthquake, you need to remember STOP, DROP, HOLD, HIDE.
- Stop what you are doing
- Drop down and get under something sturdy and strong
- Hold on to something strong
- Hide your head by tucking it down so that debris won’t fall in your eyes
You also need to remember to:
- Stay away from windows
- Don’t go outside until the shaking stops
- If you are outside, get to the most open spot you can find and get down on the ground
- Stay clear of any power lines that fall
- Do NOT stay in a place where you smell gas
- Do not light any matches or turn on any electrical sources until the house or building has been checked by professionals who say it is safe to do so
- Have a first-aid and safety kit ready at all times like the one described in the tornado safety tips
The safest place to be during a flood is inside on high ground. You also need to remember to:
- Stay out of the water
- Never drive or ride onto a flooded road or bridge
- If your house is flooding, get out
- If you think your house is going to flood, put as many things as possible up high, take emergency items and a change of clothes and leave
Other weather conditions
There are several other serious weather conditions you need to be mindful of: snowstorms, fires, hurricanes, mudslides, and even severe heat.
The best thing you can do in any of these situations is to stay as far away from them as possible. Don’t try to win against Mother Nature. She almost always wins.