When a thunderstorm threatens, protect yourself by taking cover within your home, a large building, or a hard-topped automobile. Do not use the phone except in the case of an emergency. If you are caught outside, do not stand under tall trees or telephone poles because lightning has a tendency to strike these tall objects. Instead, seek the lowest area to take cover. If you are at a lake, get off the water and away from the water until the storm passes. Remember, lightning can strike several miles away from the heart of a thunderstorm, so you should take precautions even when the storm is not above you.
In the case of a flash flood event, stay out and away from deep water. Areas of high water are often deeper than they seem to be and often moving swiftly than they first appear to be. Motorists must avoid flooded roadways, even if a previous motorist made it through. Use an alternate route to avoid the flooding, this is the only way to be safe.
During a tornado warning, follow these safety tips:
In homes or small buildings, go to the basement or to an interior room on the lowest flood (preferably a bathroom or central closet). Wrap yourself in coats or blankets to protect yourself from flying debris.
In schools, hospitals, factories, and shopping centers, go to interior rooms and hallways on the lowest floor. Stay away from glass-enclosed areas or areas with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums and warehouses.
In high-rise buildings, go to interior rooms or hallways. Stay away from exterior walls or areas with a large amount of glass.
If outside, seek shelter inside a sturdy building immediately. Sheds and storage facilities are not safe.
Abandon mobile homes and seek shelter inside a study building immediately.
If in a vehicle, the best course of action is to drive to the closest shelter. If you are unable to make it to a safe shelter, either get down in your car and cover your head, or abandon your car and seek shelter in a low-lying area such as a ditch or ravine.
Families should be prepared for all hazards that affect their area. The National Weather Service, FEMA, and the American Red Cross encourage families to develop a family disaster plan. One of the most important things that you can do is to assemble a disaster supplies kit containing the following:
First aid kit, including prescription medicines
Canned food and a non-electric can opener
A 3-day supply of bottled water (include one gallon per person per day)
One change of clothing and footwear per person
One blanket and sleeping bag per person
Rubber boots and rubber gloves
Emergency tools, including a NOAA Weather Radio, battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries
An extra set of car keys and a credit card or cash
Any special items for infants, the elderly, or disabled family members