Due to the recent storms we have experienced here in South Africa lately and the lives lost during these events, it prompted me to do some research and educate myself on what I can do to help protect myself, my family, loved ones and even others around me.
We always read about it on the news but we never know if and when we are in a similar life-threatening situation, so it is better to be prepared and increase our chances of survival.
And I am determined to teach my kids this as much as they can absorb, in the event if they need to look out for themselves.
When we look at the statistics, extreme weather conditions and other natural disaster are increasing around the world.
Preparation is Key
Know the risks of your area or region to better prepare yourself and to possibly prevent something as well.
- Prepare an emergency kit (First Aid Kit, Flashlights with backup batteries, and Nonperishable Cupboard Food, Water, Insurance Documents, nappies, baby food, clothes, toiletries, medicine, and blankets).
- Cut down any lose or dead trees and branches.
- Make sure your roof is in good repair.
- Make sure gutters and drains are clear of any obstruction to allow proper drainage.
- Move all vehicles undercover.
- Consider protective film over windows to minimize chances of breaking.
- Always check your weather forecast before going out, especially if you plan to go out on the water or climbing.
- When a storm is imminent, tie down any lose object like trash cans, lawn furniture to prevent property damage or injuring someone during the storm.
- Discuss a plan of action with your family or loved ones to seek out a shelter or go somewhere safe.
- Always have a breakdown kit ready in your car in case you have a flat tire or something else goes wrong.
- Download Storm Radar with NOAA Weather & Severe Warning App on Android or WU Storm for iPhone.
- If you are Indoors, stay away from windows, doors, fireplaces and avoid using a corded phone, cellphone use is safer.
- Advised to Evacuate by Officials, do so without delay, take your Emergency Kit with you or have a backup in your vehicle, pack some clothes but travel very light.
- In your car, stop away from trees and power lines and on higher ground to stay away from flooding areas. (If you need to pick up your kids from school or something, rather see if they are not safer at the school than you guys driving on the road or ask if someone trusting can pick them up and meet later at a safer place and time.)
Try not to drive during storms, (unless instructed to evacuate), to prevent traffic for emergency vehicles and to decrease the chance of accidents.
Blizzards & Winter Storms
Blizzards can last anything between a few hours or a few days. They may bring cold temperatures, bring on snowfall in some countries or regions, cause roofs to collapse or may even tear a roof apart with its strong gusts of wind.
- Consider stringing a safety line outside between your house and other places like the garage or storm sellar in case you need to go there. Otherwise, DO NOT attempt to walk outside as you might get lost with the limited visibility.
- If you go outside using a safety line, dress for the occasion in warm air-tight, water repellent clothes, preferably with a hood and mittens to prevent frostbite or from getting sick. And make sure you don't wear slippery shoes, but tight, water repellent boots to keep your feet dry and give you the needed support.
- Before going outside, let someone know where you are going and how long you will be in case they need to go looking for you.
- If you are driving and got stuck in a blizzard or snowstorm, stay in your car. Opening the window slightly on the sheltered side – away from the wind to allow you some fresh air. Check the exhaust pipe whenever you can to ascertain it is not blocked. Remember: you can't smell potentially fatal carbon monoxide fumes. You can run the car engine about 10 minutes every half-hour if the exhaust system is not blocked with snow.
- Keep moving around to help keep the blood flowing and to keep yourself warm. DO NOT overexert yourself even if you want to shovel snow away. Overexertion in extreme cold can cause death as a result of hypothermia from sweating or a heart attack.
- Check your water supply frequently in cases of severe cold to ensure it is not frozen.
- If your house or roof show any sign of distress, call a professional as soon as possible as any self-tampering can cause injury or damages to your property.
- Make sure you get all your pets and animals indoors or in their own shelter and close off any areas where they may slip out again.
Person who is Extremely Cold or has Hypothermia
- Seek Medical Attention ASAP
- Move them to a warm dry place.
- Replace any wet clothing with warm and dry clothing.
- Cover with a blanket to prevent any further heat loss, cover the head as well.
- If you don't have shelter, protect yourselves from the wind.
- Keep moving as well to keep blood flowing.
- If person's breathing becomes shallow, perform CPR. Do not assume someone is dead, as victim's of hypothermia may appear to be dead but CPR can save their lives!
- Stay indoors, even if the hailstones start out small.
- If outside, get indoors as quickly as possible, preferably large enclosed areas.
- Stay away from windows and skylights as large hailstones can shatter the glass.
- Unplug any electronics that do not have surge protectors
- If you are driving, find cover under an overpass, gas station but avoid parking near trees as they may fall over.
- If you cannot find cover while driving, park your vehicle at an angle so the hailstones will hit against the reinforced windshield and not the back window or side windows. Stay away from the windows and try to cover yourself with a blanket or jacket to protect yourself from falling debris. Do not touch any metals if there is lightning.
- Check your gutters, roof, and windows for any damages and repair as soon as possible.
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