Page 27 - Senior Times South Central Michigan - March 2018 - 25-03
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Thunderstorm Safety
Do you know your tornado and severe weather risks and what to do if bad weather threatens your community? Severe weather can strike unexpectedly, but there are steps you can take to pre- pare for it. Learn your risk and what to do now so you are ready to act in dan- gerous weather conditions.
An easy rule to follow is to always equate thunder with lightning, even
if lightning is not visible where you
are. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. Lightning always accompanies thunder- storms, so your first line of defense is to keep an eye and ear to the sky. If a watch has been issued be aware of how thun- derstorms can develop, and of lightning's capricious nature. And keep in mind that lightning strikes the best conductor on the ground, not necessarily the tallest object. In some cases, the best conductor might be a human being.
To determine how close lightning might be consider this rough calculation. When you see the flash, begin to count the seconds until you hear the thunder. Divide this number by five (5). The num- ber you get is the approximate distance of the lightning in miles. For example,
if you count nine seconds between the flash and the thunder, the lightning struck just under two miles away.
Additional information from the National Weather Service can be found at
Preparing for a tornado or thun- derstorm:
• Plan ahead. Be sure everyone in your household knows where to go and what to do in case of a tornado or thunder- storm warning.
• Know the safest location for shelter in your home, workplace and school. Load-bearing walls near the center of the basement or lowest level generally provide the greatest protection.
• Know the location of designated shel- ter areas in local public facilities, such as schools, shopping centers, and other public buildings.
• Have emergency supplies on hand, including a battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio, flashlight, and a supply of fresh batteries, first-aid kit, water, and cell phone.
• Keep a three-day supply of food on hand. Keep some food in your supply kit that doesn’t require refrigeration.
• Make an inventory of household furnishings and other possessions. Supplement it with photographs of each room and keep them in a safe place.
• Sign up to receive text or e-mail alerts from your local media, weather pro- vider, or through an app.
What to do when a thunderstorm approaches your area:
• Stay tuned to your weather radio or
local news station for the latest updates from the National Weather Service or go to the National Weather Service website,
• Seek safe shelter when you first hear thunder, when you see dark threaten- ing clouds developing overhead, or see lightning. Stay inside until 30 minutes after you last hear thunder or see light- ning. Remember, lightning can strike more than ten miles away from any rainfall.
• When you hear thunder, run to the nearest large building or a fully enclosed vehicle (soft-topped convert- ibles are not safe). It is not safe any- where outside.
• If you are boating or swimming, get to land and seek shelter immediately.
• Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Any item plugged into an electrical outlet may cause a hazard during a tornado or thunder- storm. Do not use corded (plug-in) tele- phones except in an emergency.
What to do when a tornado warning is issued for your area:
• Quickly move to shelter in the base-
ment or lowest floor of a permanent
• In homes and small buildings, go to
the basement and get under something sturdy, like a workbench or stairwell. If a basement is not available, go to an interior part of the home on the lowest level. A good rule of thumb is to put as many walls between you and the tor- nado as possible.
• In schools, hospitals, and public places, move to the designated shelter areas. Interior hallways on the lowest floors are generally best.
• Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls. Broken glass and wind blown projectiles cause more injuries and deaths than collapsed buildings. Protect your head with a pillow, blan- ket, or mattress.
• If you are caught outdoors, a sturdy shelter is the only safe location in a tor- nado.
• If you are boating or swimming, get to land and seek shelter immediately.
After a tornado or thunderstorm:
• Inspect your property and motor vehicles for damage. Write down the date and list the damages for insurance purposes. Check for electrical problems and gas leaks, and report them to the utility company at once.
• Watch out for fallen power lines. Stay out of damaged buildings until you are sure they are safe and will not collapse. Secure your property from further dam- age or theft.
• Use only chlorinated or bottled supplies of drinking water.
• Check on your food supply. Food stored in a refrigerator or freezer can spoil when the power goes out.
Senior Times - March 2018
Page 27
703 Capital Ave., SW, Battle Creek • 269-962-5191
Tornado And
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320 West Woodlawn Avenue, Hastings, MI 49058 Phone: (269) 948-4856 | Fax: (269) 948-3336 E-Mail: |

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