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April 8, 2016

Severe Weather Week Is a Good Time to Prepare Personal Plans


Fulton - While New York State agencies, the National Weather Service and local communities prepare to observe Weather Hazards Awareness Week April 24 through 30, Oswego County Emergency Management Office Director Dale A. Currier encourages local residents to develop their own protection plans to deal with severe weather threats.

During a severe weather outbreak, it is not always possible to read through safety tips when weather is changing rapidly.

"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," said Currier. "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 simple steps to take include the following:

- Put together a Family Disaster Supplies Kit. Include flashlights and extra batteries, battery-operated AM/FM radio and extra batteries, wind-up radios and flashlights, 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.

- Talk with your family about where to go for safety should dangerous conditions threaten. Develop a plan for you and your family at home, work, school, and when outdoors. Plan ahead where you can go should an evacuation order be issued by local officials.

- Know the terms. A "watch" issued by the National Weather Service means severe weather is possible within a designated area - you should be alert and stay tuned to NOAA tone-alert weather radio, local radio and television stations, or social media applications. A "warning" means severe weather is imminent or has been spotted in the area - you should take necessary precautions at once and stay tuned to local weather reports. An "advisory" is informational and indicates a prediction of potential hazardous conditions.

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, social media applications, 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 caused by irrational behavior.

- Listen to local radio or television or social media applications 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 inside and outside 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, appliances, and electronic equipment to prevent a circuit overload when power is restored.

- Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately to 911 or National Grid.

- 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 floods and flash floods, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and other events, contact the Oswego County Emergency Management Office at 315-591-9150.

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