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April 27, 2007
Hazardous Weather Can Strike Any Time of the Year
With the arrival of spring comes the potential for severe thunderstorms, flooding and other hazardous weather conditions. Oswego County Emergency Management Office Director Patricia Egan encourages local residents to develop their own plans of protection during severe weather threats.
“Having a plan ahead of time and being attuned to the weather can help you anticipate the possibility of severe weather and alert you so you are ready to take action,” Egan said. “There are several things you can do today to prepare for a weather emergency. The time you take now can help everyone stay safe and cope better should a disaster strike.”
Some of the most basic steps include the following:
- Know the terms. A “watch” issued by the National Weather Service means severe weather is possible within a designated area. Be alert and stay tuned to NOAA tone-alert weather radio or local radio and television stations. A “warning” means severe weather is imminent or has
been spotted in the area. Take necessary precautions at once and stay tuned to local weather reports. An “advisory” is informational and indicates a prediction of potential hazardous conditions.
- Talk with your family about a safe place to go if dangerous conditions develop. Put together a plan for you and your family at home, work, school, and when outdoors.
- Plan ahead where to go should an evacuation order be issued by local officials.
- Put together a Family Disaster Supplies Kit. Include flashlights and extra batteries, battery-operated AM/FM radio and extra batteries, emergency food and water, extra blankets and sleeping bags, first-aid kit and manual, emergency heating equipment (used properly), essential medicines, manual can opener, fire extinguisher, checkbook, cash, and credit/ATM cards.
- When weather conditions threaten, listen to local radio or television stations or NOAA weather radio for updates, and follow the advice of local emergency officials provided by the media.
- When inclement weather hits, remain calm but take immediate action.
- If on vacation or driving through an unfamiliar area, remember the county you are in and where you are in relation to other towns and cities.
- Continue monitoring local radio or television or NOAA weather radio.
- Protect yourself for the particular weather emergency that threatens: flood or flash flood, severe thunderstorm, tornado, winter storm.
- Know how to get to a safe place quickly if a weather warning is issued. Evacuate immediately if told to do so. Follow the instructions of local emergency officials.
- Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.
- If you have only moments before leaving, grab the following items and go: first aid kit including prescription medications, disaster supplies kit basics, a change of clothes and a sleeping bag for each family member, car keys and keys to the place you may be going.
- Check on neighbors who require special assistance: infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
- After the storm:
- Remain calm and patient. Staying calm and rational will help you move safely and avoid delays or accidents.
- Listen to local radio or television for news and instructions. Local authorities will provide the most appropriate advice for your particular situation.
- Check for injuries. Give first aid and get help for seriously injured people. Taking care of yourself first will allow you to help others safely until emergency responders arrive.
- Help your neighbors who may require special assistance.
- Check for damage in your home. Look carefully for any potential hazards. Avoid using candles. Look for fire hazards and check for gas leaks.
- If your lights go out, turn off or unplug lights and appliances to prevent a circuit overload when power is restored.
- Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.
- Let your family contact know you are safe and then stay off the telephone except in life-threatening emergencies.
For more information regarding weather emergencies, including brochures on hazardous weather issued by the State Emergency Management Office as well as floods, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and winter storms, contact the Oswego County Emergency Management Office at 315/591-1950 or visit www.oswegocounty.com/emo, the State Emergency Management Office at www.semo.state.ny.us, or the National Weather Service- Buffalo Forecast Office at www.wbuf.noaa.gov.
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