Breakdown: Why you need to have to a Severe Weather Safety Plan for you and your family

Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 9:02 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - With severe season right around the corner, its important you know what to do to keep you and your family safe if storms threaten your area.

Severe weather watches and warnings are ineffective if the public does not receive the message or is not knowledgeable of the safety procedures to follow.

Whether in the form of severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, or flash floods, severe weather can develop very quickly.

You must be able to get to your safe shelter area quickly - you may only have seconds to act! Your first step to surviving a tornado is to develop a plan before storms are on the horizon.

These items would be extremely useful to have in your storm shelter, or to take with you to your storm shelter, when severe weather strikes.

  • Download the Action News 5 Weather App for Apple or Android to your smartphone or tablet.
    • It’s FREE and will give you instant access to current weather conditions and forecasts for your specific location.
    • You’ll also have a live, interactive radar and should any advisories or warnings be issued for your location you will get them instantly on your phone or tablet.
  • Battery Operated NOAA Weather Radio
    • You will want to be able to monitor the latest information directly from your National Weather Service.
  • Water (one gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation)
  • Food (at least a several-day supply of non-perishable food)
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Manual can opener (for food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

To assemble your kit store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

WMC Severe Wx Safety Checklist
WMC Severe Wx Safety Checklist(WMC)

Other Things To Consider

If you have a safe room or other shelter area, you might consider storing important papers and other irreplaceable items in the shelter if space permits.

Check and replace batteries in your weather radio, flashlights and other devices in your safety kit often, preferably twice a year. Do this at the same time you set clocks back/ahead in the spring and fall, and when you replace smoke detector batteries. Check you disaster supplies kit often, as well to maintain fresh food and water, etc. Remember that your disaster supplies kit could also be critical in other types of disasters, including winter storms, etc.

Make sure you have something to cover up with. Pillows, blankets, sleeping bags, a mattress could help to protect you from falling/flying debris. Above all protect your head, neck and upper body. Wear a helmet (bicycle, football, baseball, motorcycle, hard hat, etc) if you have one. If there’s room, lie flat and cover up. Otherwise, get as low to the ground as possible and make as small a target as possible.

These tornado safety guidelines should reduce, but will not totally eliminate, your chances of being seriously injured or killed in a tornado.

While severe thunderstorms can occur any month of the year, the peak Severe Weather Season is during the Spring months of March, April, and May.

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