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Protect Your Family & Property in Extreme Weather

Extreme weather can be devastating. Knowing how to prepare, as well as protect your family and property during and after a storm is crucial. The following list of guidelines has been prepared to help you better weather some of these unfortunate events.

TROPICAL STORMS / HURRICANES

Producing winds exceeding 155 miles per hour and heavy rainfall, hurricanes ravage coastlines and travel several hundred miles inland — causing cataclysmic damage. Hurricane preparedness can make all the difference in weathering this storm.

Learn more about tropical storm and hurricane safety.

Before And During A Hurricane


At Home Or Work

  • Build an emergency kit and create a plan for you and your family.
  • Familiarize yourself with the area.
  • If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.
  • Know your elevation level of your property. This will help you know if it is prone to flood and will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted
  • Determine whether dams or levees in your area could pose a threat to you.
  • Identify community hurricane evacuation routes, how to find higher ground and where you would go in an evacuation situation.
  • Cover your home's windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8" marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.
  • To reduce roof damage, install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure.
  • Trim trees and shrubs around your home to make them more wind resistant.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Reinforce your garage doors.
  • Bring in all outdoor furniture, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
  • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
  • Purchase a generator for emergencies.

Hurricanes cause heavy rains that can cause extensive flood damage in coastal and inland areas. Flood insurance is the only way to financially protect your property or business from flood damage.

If A Hurricane Is Likely

  • Listen to the radio or TV for information.
  • Close storm shutters and secure or bring in outdoor objects.
  • Turn off all utilities if instructed to do so.
  • If not turned off, dial the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep the doors closed.
  • Turn off your propane tanks.
  • Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
  • Moor your boat if time permits.
  • Fill the bathtub, and other larger containers, with water to ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes.
  • Consult the internet for ways keep food safe during and after an emergency.

Evacuation

Evacuate if instructed by the authorities:

  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure.
  • If you live in a high-rise building — hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an island waterway.

If you are unable to evacuate, go to your wind-safe room. If one is not available:

  • Stay indoors and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Avoid elevators.
  • Close all interior doors — secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
  • Do not be fooled if there is a lull as it could be the eye of the storm and winds will pick up again.

After A Hurricane


At Home Or Work

  • NEVER use a generator inside homes or any enclosed area. Even with open doors and using fans, deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.
  • Continue listening to a radio or TV for the latest updates.
  • Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding.
  • If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
  • Take pictures of damage, both of your buildings and their contents, for insurance purposes.
  • When dark, do NOT use candles. Use battery-powered flashlights. The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering as the battery could ignite leaking gases.
  • Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it's not contaminated.
  • Check refrigerator for spoiled food. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • When cleaning up, be cautious and always wear protective clothing.
  • Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury.

In Your Auto

  • Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges. Stay off the streets and be on the look out for fallen objects, downed electrical wires and weakened walls, bridges, roads and sidewalks.

Outdoors

  • Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use sticks to poke through debris.
  • Walk carefully around the outside your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering. Stay out of any building if you smell gas, if floodwaters remain around the building or if it was damaged by fire. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.


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TORNADOES

Tornadoes are nature's most violent storms, devastating a neighborhood in seconds and leaving behind severe and sometime fatal injuries. Our tornado safety tips can help protect you and your family survive these swift occurrences.

Learn more about tornado safety.

Watch — Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area.

Warning — A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. When a tornado has been sighted, go to your shelter immediately. Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls.

Before A Tornado

Stock your shelter with flashlights, blankets, a radio, water, food and other needed supplies. If time permits:

  • Store vehicles, boats and RVs in the most secure place possible.
  • Arrange chairs and beds away from windows, mirrors and picture frames.
  • Place heavy or large items on lower shelves.
  • Secure your large appliances, especially your water heater, with flexible cable or metal strapping.
  • Use L brackets, corner brackets or aluminum molding to attach tall or top-heavy furniture to the wall, or eyebolts to secure items located a short distance from the wall.
  • Install sliding bolts or childproof latches on all cabinet doors.
  • Store all poisons and solvents in sturdy, latched or locked cabinets away from food and water supplies.
  • Review your homeowners insurance policy with your insurance agent periodically to make sure you have sufficient coverage.

During A Tornado


At Home

  • Go to the basement or storm cellar. If there is no basement, go to an interior room on the lower level (closets, interior hallways). Get under a sturdy table and protect your head. Stay there until the danger has passed.
  • In a public place, go to a shelter area pre-designated by the establishment.
  • In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.

In Your Auto

  • In a mobile home, vehicle or RV, get out immediately and go to a more substantial structure. Do not attempt to outdrive a tornado. They are erratic and fast.

Outdoors

  • If you cannot reach a structure, lie flat in the nearest ditch, ravine or culvert with your hands shielding your head.

After A Tornado


  • NEVER use a generator inside homes or in any enclosed area. Even with open doors and using fans, deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.
  • Continue listening to a radio or TV for the latest updates.
  • Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding .
  • Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges. Stay off the streets and be on the lookout for fallen objects, downed electrical wires and weakened walls, bridges, roads and sidewalks.
  • If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
  • Go outside your house and check for structural damage, loose power lines, gas leaks and other damage before entering. Stay out of any building if you smell gas, if floodwaters remain around the building or if it was damaged by fire. Have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering if you have any doubts about safety.
  • When dark, do NOT use candles. Use battery-powered flashlights. The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering as the battery could ignite leaking gases.
  • Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes.
  • Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it's not contaminated.
  • Check refrigerator for spoiled food. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • When cleaning up, be cautious and always wear protective clothing.
  • Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury.
  • Take pictures of damage, both of your buildings and their contents, for insurance purposes.


HAIL

Large hail can cause severe damage to your property. In some cases, it can even cause injury to you or those you love. Use the following precautions to protect your home and family.

Learn more about hail safety.

At Home Or Work

  • Pull vehicles into garages and secure boats, ATVs and other recreational vehicles to avoid damage.
  • Stay inside until the hail stops, do not go outside for any reason.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Account for all family members, building occupants, pets, etc.
  • Do not use phones and electrical appliances during a severe storm to avoid the danger of electrocution from lightning.
  • Review your homeowners insurance policy with your insurance agent periodically to make sure you have sufficient coverage.

In Your Auto

  • Find refuge in a garage, under a service station awning or under a highway overpass.
  • Don't leave the vehicle.
  • Stay away from car windows.
  • Cover your eyes and get face-down on the seat or floor with your back to the windows.
  • Put very small children under you and cover their eyes.

Outdoors

  • Seek shelter immediately. If you can't protect your entire body, protect your head.
  • Stay out of culverts and lowland areas that may suddenly fill with water.
  • Seeking shelter under trees should be a last resort. Trees lose branches and attract lightning.


LIGHTNING

Lightning can harm you and electronics in your home. It can strike as far as 10 miles from the area where it is raining during a storm. Tall clouds, dark skies and distant rumbles are all signals a storm may be on its way. If you see lightning, start counting. If you hear a rumble in 30 seconds or less, the thunderstorm is close enough to be dangerous.

Learn more about lightning safety.

At Home Or Work

  • If possible, stay in your home or seek a large building for shelter. Stay away from open windows, electrical items, outlets and plumbing such as sinks and showers. Lightning can flow through these things and arc to your body. Never shower or bathe during a thunderstorm. Use a cell or cordless phone instead of a landline. If lightning hits telephone lines, it can flow through the line to the telephone.
  • Typical surge protectors don't protect electronics from lightning. Unplug any appliances or electronic equipment from all conductors as soon as you learn of a possible thunderstorm. If you plan to be away during a suspected thunderstorm, be sure to unplug unneeded electrical units before you leave.
  • Review your homeowners insurance policy with your insurance agent periodically to make sure you have sufficient coverage.

In Your Auto

  • If you are outside and cannot get inside, a vehicle is your next viable option. The metal, not the rubber tires, protects you in a vehicle. Stay inside with the windows up.

Outdoors

  • If outdoors, do not stand under a tree. Try to find a low spot away from any metal fences, pipes, trees or tall objects. If you are swimming or boating and you hear distant rumbles, or see flashes of lightning, get to land as soon as possible. If you are in a boat and cannot get to shore, stay in the middle of the boat or below if you can.
  • If your hair stands up or your skin tingles, a lightning strike may be unavoidable. Keep your hands off the ground and don't lie down. Squat down on the balls of your feet with your feet close together; this will keep the points of contact between yourself and the ground to a minimum.

If Struck

  • When someone is struck by lightning, he or she needs medical attention as soon as possible. Even if that person is not breathing, he or she can often be revived with CPR.
  • Once the electric charge has gone through a person, there is no residual effect that can be passed along to another person. Immediate injuries can include burns, wounds, nerve damage and fractures.
  • Symptoms include memory loss, sleep disturbances, dizziness and severe pain. Some lightning survivors have trouble processing information, are easily distracted and may even have personality changes. These symptoms do not always manifest immediately, some may not appear until months after the lightning strike.


STRONG WINDS

Gusting winds can bring down trees, power lines and signs. They can also turn all unsecured objects into dangerous projectiles.

Learn more about strong wind safety.

At Home Or Work

  • Protect your belongings and secure anything that could become dangerous to you during a storm.
  • Make sure boundary fences are secure, with posts firmly set in the ground.
  • Cut and clear dangerous tree limbs that could pose a threat during a storm.
  • Pull vehicles into garages and secure boats, ATVs and other recreational vehicles to avoid damage.
  • Check your roof for broken or missing shingles. Fix them as soon as possible.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Be prepared for power outages.
  • Review your homeowners insurance policy with your insurance agent periodically to make sure you have sufficient coverage.

In Your Auto

  • Slow down.
  • Keep both hands on the wheel and watch for blowing objects.
  • Keep a safe distance from cars that could gust into you.
  • Trucks, vans, SUVs and trailers are more prone to being pushed or flipped by high wind gusts. If winds are severe, safely pull over onto the shoulder of the road and stop. Be sure you are away from anything that could blow over onto your vehicle.
  • If a power line blows onto your car, do not get out and do not touch any part of the metal frame of your vehicle.
  • Warn others to stay away by honking your horn. Roll down window and verbally warn them if you can do so without touching metal. Also ask them to call the fire department.
  • Do not exit the car until help arrives. If your vehicle catches fire, jump out without touching any of the metal portions of the vehicle exterior.

Outdoors

  • Take cover next to a building or under a secure shelter.
  • Gusts can blow you into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Stand clear of roads and train tracks.
  • Use handrails and avoid elevated areas such as roofs.
  • Report downed lines to your local utility emergency center and to the police.
  • Avoid vehicles or tree branches that may be touching the lines.


WINTER WEATHER

Winter storms can come on suddenly and last for several days, making everyday tasks nearly impossible. Preparation is the key to keeping your family safe and comfortable.

Learn more about winter weather safety.

At Home Or Work

  • Prepare a 3-day supply of water. One gallon per person per day.
  • Prepare a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food.
  • Stock up on baby and pet supplies and withdraw extra cash from your bank.
  • Obtain a flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio and extra batteries.
  • Secure a first-aid kit and medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, sanitation and personal hygiene items, etc.).
  • Have a cell phone with chargers and emergency contact information.
  • Prepare tools/supplies for securing your home, such as sand, rock salt or non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery.
  • Have warm clothing, such as coats, gloves or mittens, hats, boots and extra blankets for all household members.
  • Have ample alternate heating methods, such as fireplaces or wood- or coal-burning stoves.

Protecting Your Home From Damage

  • Maintain furnaces, heating ducts and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
  • Watch for snow accumulation on the downwind side of a higher-level roof, where blowing snow will collect. Be safe, consult a roofing contractor for a referral
  • Remove snow from basement stairwells, window wells and all walls. Melting snow can lead to water damage and moisture intrusion.
  • Review your homeowners insurance policy with your insurance agent periodically to make sure you have sufficient coverage.
Reduce the risk of ice dams:
  • Make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris.
  • Keep the attic well-ventilated so snow doesn't melt and refreeze on the roof's edge.
  • Make sure the attic floor is well insulated to minimize the amount of heat rising through the attic from within the house.
Keep pipes from freezing:
  • Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes with caulking.
  • Use heat tape to wrap pipes (especially in mobile homes).
  • Keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes.
  • Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through an unheated or unprotected space.

In Your Auto

  • Add stronger de-icer to keep your windshield from freezing.
  • Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • Avoid driving on roads that are icy or filled with heavy snowfall.
  • Always carry an emergency kit (flares, water, jumper cables, woolen blankets, hard candy, matches and non-perishable food, such as nuts, dried fruit, first aid kit, compass, etc.).
If you become stranded:
  • Do not leave your vehicle unless you know exactly where you are.
  • Attract attention by lighting flares a safe distance from your vehicle.
  • Hang brightly colored clothes from your antenna.
  • Be sure your exhaust is not blocked. Keep your vehicle running 10 minutes every hour to save gas.
  • Protect yourself from hypothermia with woolen blankets.
  • Keep your window open a crack as ice can seal your vehicle.
  • Eat hard candy to keep your mouth moist.

Outdoors

  • Keep clothing clean. Dirt and oil reduces its insulating value.
  • Avoid overheating. Sweating turns on your body's AC and can kill you in a survival situation. If physical exertion starts to overheat you, removing your hat is the first line of action to keep yourself from sweating.
  • Wear your clothing loose and in layers. Tight clothing reduces the amount of trapped air that could also act as insulation.
  • Keep clothing dry. In cold temperatures, your inner layers of clothing can become wet from sweat and your outer layer, if not water repellent, can become wet from snow and freeze.


EXTREME TEMPERATURES

Extreme heat and cold cannot only be stressful on people, it can affect pets and your home as well. Taking precaution is the only way to ensure your family's safety and the integrity of your home.

Learn more about extreme temperature safety.

Extreme Heat


At Home Or Work

  • Protect your home's foundation from shifting under extreme heat by placing soaker hoses around the perimeter about six inches from the house. Running the water slowly can keep the soil moist (not soaked) and prevent your foundation from pulling away from your home and shifting. This small step can save thousands of dollars in damage to your home.
  • Avoid strenuous activity. Try to work only in the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sunshine. Use a fan when possible.
  • If your home is too warm, go to public buildings with air conditioning such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls or other community facilities.
  • Drink plenty of water regularly and often. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.
  • Review your homeowners insurance policy with your insurance agent periodically to make sure you have sufficient coverage.

In Your Vehicle

  • Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
  • Use your air conditioner whenever possible.
  • In case of a breakdown, keep bottled water in your car at all times.

Outdoors

  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun's energy. Protect your face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.

Extreme Cold


At Home Or Work

  • Prepare tools/supplies for securing your home, such as sand, rock salt or non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery.
  • Have warm clothing, such as coats, gloves or mittens, hats, boots and extra blankets for all household members.
  • Have ample alternate heating methods, such as fireplaces or wood- or coal-burning stoves.
  • Have a cell phone with chargers and emergency contact information.
Reduce the risk of ice dams:
  • Make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris.
  • Keep the attic well-ventilated so snow doesn't melt and refreeze on the roof's edge.
  • Make sure the attic floor is well insulated to minimize the amount of heat rising through the attic from within the house.
Keep pipes from freezing:
  • Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes with caulking.
  • Use heat tape to wrap pipes (especially in mobile homes).
  • Keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes.
  • Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through an unheated or unprotected space.
  • Review your homeowners insurance policy with your insurance agent periodically to make sure you have sufficient coverage.

In Your Auto

  • Add stronger de-icer to keep your windshield from freezing.
  • Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • Avoid driving on roads that are icy or filled with heavy snowfall.
  • Always carry an emergency kit (flares, water, jumper cables, woolen blankets, hard candy, matches and non-perishable food, such as nuts, dried fruit, first aid kit, compass, etc.)
If you become stranded:
  • Do not leave your vehicle unless you know exactly where you are.
  • Attract attention by lighting flares a safe distance from your vehicle.
  • Hang brightly colored clothes from your antenna.
  • Be sure your exhaust is not blocked. Keep you vehicle running 10 minutes every hour to save gas.
  • Protect yourself from hypothermia with woolen blankets.
  • Keep your window open a crack as ice can seal your vehicle.
  • Eat hard candy to keep your mouth moist.

Outdoors

  • If you are in poor physical condition, take certain medications or suffer from illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension or cardiovascular disease, you are at an increased risk to extreme temperatures.
  • Recognize the environmental conditions that may be dangerous.
  • Research cold-induced illnesses and injuries.
  • Wear proper clothing for cold, wet and windy conditions, including layers that can be adjusted to changing conditions.
  • If working outside, take breaks to allow your body to warm up.
  • Try to plan outdoor work for the warmest part of the day.
  • Energy is needed to keep muscles warm; avoid fatigue.
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine. Drink warm, sweet beverages (sugar water, sports-type drinks).
  • Eat warm, high-calorie foods such as pasta dishes.


FLOOD

Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States and account for approximately 30% of disasters worldwide. Knowing how to protect your home and family is crucial in weathering this event.

Learn more about flood safety.

At Home Or Work

  • Build an emergency kit and make a family/coworker communications plan.
  • Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
  • Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk.
  • Consider installing check valves to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home or office space.
  • If feasible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building (sandbags, etc.) and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds.
  • If you are trapped by rising floodwater, seek refuge in the highest part of a sturdy building and call for rescue if possible.
  • Review your homeowners insurance policy with your insurance agent periodically to make sure you have sufficient coverage.

Flood insurance is the only way to financially protect your property or business from flood damage.

In Your Vehicle

Don't ignore warnings by driving past barricades. Don't drive through standing water on roads or in parking lots. If you must be on the road:

  • Do your best to estimate the depth of the water and drive slowly and steadily through it.
  • Avoid driving in water with downed electrical or power lines.
  • Watch for items traveling downstream as they can trap or crush you.
  • If you have driven through water up to the wheel rims or higher, test your brakes when it is safe. If they are wet, dry them by pressing gently on the brake pedal with your left foot while maintaining speed with your right foot.
  • Stay off the telephone unless you must report severe injuries.
  • If your vehicle stalls in the deep water, you may need to restart the engine to make it to safety. Restarting may cause irreparable damage to the engine.
  • If you can't restart your vehicle and you become trapped in rising water, immediately abandon it for higher ground. Try to open the door or roll down the window to get out of the vehicle. If you are unable to get out safely, call 911 or get the attention of a passerby or someone standing on higher ground so that they may call for help.

Outdoors

  • Do not attempt to walk in floodwater as it may be deeper and faster flowing than it appears.
  • Floodwater can contain rubbish, dead animals, sewage and other contaminants such as poisons. It is safer to stay clear of floodwater.
  • In some areas, large volumes of fast flowing water can come and go very quickly, sucking in or trapping anyone who gets close to drains, pipes or grills. These places are dangerous to play near when flooded. They can be slippery, have strong suction and currents that can be very hard to get out of.


LIMITED VISIBILITY

Dust storms arise when a gust front or other strong wind blows loose sand and dirt from a dry surface. Many times these storms can come on with no warning and are accompanied by rain and thunderstorms. Knowing what to do is crucial in weathering these storms.

Learn more about limited visibility safety.

DUST STORMS


At Home Or Work

  • Get inside as quickly as possible.
  • Close all windows, draw draperies, blinds and shut all doors.
  • Take shelter in a room without windows. Your windows may be sandblasted after a storm but they will still be intact.
  • Rocks, patio furniture or tree limbs can still be blown through windows. Stay far away from the shattered glass. Close the blinds and drapes, just in case.
  • Review your homeowners insurance policy with your insurance agent periodically to make sure you have sufficient coverage.

In Your Auto

  • Pull off the road while you can still see, pulling off as far as possible.
  • Turn off your car lights, inside and outside. At the onset of the storm, others may see your lights and follow them assuming you are on the road.
  • Set your emergency brake. Take your foot off the brake to assure your brake lights are not on.
  • Close all windows and doors tightly.
  • Close all the air vents to help prevent outside air filled with dust from coming into the car.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a bandana, mask, t-shirt or other fabric to reduce the amount of dust you breathe in. If you moisten the cloth it will be even more effective and easier to breathe.
  • If you are unable to safely pull off the road, keep your headlights and hazard lights on. Continue to drive slowly sounding your horn every minute or so. You can use the highway's centerline to guide you until you reach a place where it is safe to pull off.

Outdoors

  • Take shelter behind a large structure or other land formation. Do not lie in a ditch, as thunderstorms often cause flash floods. If you are in an area with small hills, they should be fine as a shelter.
  • If you cannot find a large rock and are in a completely open area, lie flat on the ground and protect you head and back with anything you may have. If you are camping or hiking, you should have a backpack, Mylar blanket, sleeping bag or other items that would work as shelter.
  • Protect your head, face and eyes. If possible, cover your head and face with a sweater, coat, or anything else you may have handy. Winds from a dust storm can pick up and propel other objects, so curl up to make yourself as small as possible. Eyeglasses and sunglasses only offer a little protection from blowing dust or sand. Airtight goggles are the best protection — swimming goggles work well.
  • NEVER rub your eyes. If they become irritated, rinse with water.
  • If you have a mask, put it on immediately. If you don't have a mask, lightly moisten a bandana or some other piece of fabric and tie it over your nose and mouth. If you don't have fabric, pull the front of your shirt up over your nose and mouth to reduce the amount of dust you breathe in.
  • If you are with a group, stick together. A dust storm is similar to a blizzard — you can easily become disoriented and lost. If you are trying to get to a protected area hold hands or lock arms while walking.


RAIN


At Home Or Work

  • Look at the foundation of your home. Look for any cracks and holes. Small cracks can be ignored, but larger ones should be repaired to prevent water from seeping into your house.
  • Check the exterior of your home for paint damage. Look for any bubbling, peeling or cracking paint. Touch up any problem areas you see as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your siding.
  • Dirt and debris can easily clog your gutters, causing rainwater to back up. A few of the costly problems clogged gutters can create are rotted boards and windowsills as well as water leakage into your foundation and basement. Clean your gutters of all leaves and other debris regularly.
  • Check the flow of rain through your downspouts. If water is pooling less than five feet from your home, redirect it with gutter extensions to prevent water damage
  • After a rain, inspect your basement for any signs of water. Check for wet spots in the carpet, especially in the corners of your basement. Also, give your walls a sniff. If you detect a musty smell, you may have mold or mildew behind your walls. If you suspect this to be a serious problem, call a professional.
  • Inspect your roof at least twice a year and after any severe storms. Missing or worn-out roofing materials may allow water to seep into your home and damage your roofing structure. If you have an attic, you can look for signs of water penetration under the roof after it rains. To do this, inspect the underside of the plywood beneath your roof for any watermarks or mold.
  • Review your homeowners insurance policy with your insurance agent periodically to make sure you have sufficient coverage.

In Your Auto

  • Avoid hard breaking and sharp turns, and drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead of you.
  • Allow ample stopping distance between you and the car in front of yours. Instead of the usual recommendation of 3-4 seconds following distance, increase space to give yourself 5-6 seconds to stop when driving on wet roads.
  • Before you drive in wet weather, make sure your tires are properly inflated and have enough tread depth. Insert a quarter upside down into a tire groove. If you can see above George Washington's head at any point, it's time for new tires.
  • While cruise control works great in dry conditions, when used in wet weather, it can increase your chance of losing control.
  • Driving through deep standing water on a flooded road can cause a vehicle to stall and result in severe damage to the vehicle, including flooding the engine, warping brake rotors, loss of power steering, shorted electrical components, etc.

Outdoors

With rain comes the risk of thunder and lightning. See our, Lightning Section for more information.

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