First, build a preparedness kit. Our Facebook campaign, “Make Your Own Luck: Disaster Kit Building 101” gives you a great step-by-step guide to building kits for home, car and work. Having a kit ready will help you with any disasters that the usual spring weather may throw your way.
Second, learn about the potential hazards that can happen where you live. In Chattanooga, this usually means rain, rain and more rain. This increased rain can cause a variety of hazards. Here are a few things to remember:
1. Rainy Weather Driving – Rain can make roads slick, so please do slow down and keep a greater distance between you and the car in front of you. Especially when the rain first starts, roads can be treacherous. Don’t slip and slide! Slow down and you will make it to your destination just fine.
2. Standing Water on Roads – Did you know that floods kill more people per year than hurricanes, tornadoes, wind storms or lightning? Incredibly, almost 60% of all flood deaths are caused when people choose to drive through standing water and are swept away. Don’t let the possibility of a late arrival cause you to take a chance and drive through standing water. That water may seem like a small obstacle, but looks can be deceiving. Is the road washed away or eroded along the edge? How deep is that water, really? Even if the worse doesn’t happen, you still might find yourself stalled in deep water, looking at a repair bill that you won’t like. More importantly, you could actually be endangering your life. Watch this video for a graphic example of how easily a little water can become a life-threatening situation. Depending on the vehicle you are driving, you could find yourself floating and drifting off the road in just inches of water. Even heavier vehicles like pick-up trucks and SUV’s can be swept away in just two feet of water. Don’t drown! Turn around!
2. Flooding – In addition to the situation highlighted above, flooding can create other issues. When the weather turns nice, many of us take the opportunity to get outside and play. We swim; we fish; we camp. However, when it rains, it really can pour. Check the weather forecast before you head out into the wild. Pack gear accordingly, avoid going out if a large storm system is headed your way, and avoid camping next to water if it has been raining all day. Flash flooding does happen. Visit Ready.gov for important flood safety tips.
5. Thunderstorms and Lightning and Tornadoes – Pay attention to the weather! Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are very real dangers in our area. Don’t ignore weather watches or warnings. Instead, learn what you should do in each of these situations. The links provided above will take you to the American Red Cross web site and will help you know what to do to prepare for, respond to, and recover from severe weather. Here are some interesting facts you may not know:
- If you are close enough to hear thunder, you can be struck by lightning.
- Watches mean the weather conditions are favorable for the type of weather listed; warnings mean the conditions exist and you should take shelter immediately!
- A weather radio is your early warning system! Get one and program it today!
- Tornadoes really do happen in Chattanooga. Don’t think, “It’s never happened here.” It has! Take cover!
6. Power Outages: Power outages are really inconvenient if you aren’t prepared. Do you know what you need to know about food safety? Dealing with the heat or cold? Safe lighting options? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a great list of preparedness guidelines that will help you know what to do when the lights go out. Take a look!
It may be a cliché, but knowledge really is power. Learn what to do to keep you and your loved ones safe during severe weather, and you will have the power to stay safe. Please take a few minutes to read through the information provided so that you can enjoy the approach of warm weather and be prepared for anything!