YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Most people understand how to prepare for the onslaught of winter weather, but since severe weather in the Valley is sporadic most of the year, many are not prepared.
After two days of severe weather this week and with another potential round of severe weather coming Saturday, now is the best time to prepare to make sure your family is safe. Here are five simple steps in order to make sure your family stays safe this severe weather season:
Step 1: Have a plan
Every family needs a plan, but more importantly, every family member needs to understand that plan in case severe weather catches them off guard. At dinner tonight, talk with your family about what to do if someone if caught off guard. Make sure that every person knows what to do in certain situations.
What if your high schooler is caught out in a storm during soccer practice and can not reach you? Does your elementary school child know once they hear thunder it is time to come in doors? Also, in the event that your family needs to seek shelter in the case of a Tornado Warning, does everyone know where to go?
Even though you might not go through these situations this year, it is better that you and your family are prepared.
Step 2: Have a severe weather kit
In the rare case that you and your family need to seek shelter inside your house, do you have a kit with safety supplies ready to go? Every family needs a safety kit in a place where they would go to seek shelter in an emergency weather situation.
This kit needs to include basic emergency supplies. This would include items such as a first aid kit, a flashlight, a NOAA battery-powered weather radio and extra blankets or articles of clothing.
You also want to prepare for a potential power outage in which your cell phone battery is low. Items that could be useful are extra batteries and a portable phone charger. You may also want to write down important contacts’ names and phone number, in case you can’t access them on your phone. Good numbers to have on this list would be relatives that live in the area, neighbors or places your kids could be at on any given day, school or practice complexes you attend, and even your insurance providers.
Step 3: Make sure your pets are taken care of
Pets are sometimes the last thought when it comes to severe weather situations, but they can be important members of the family. Make sure your pet has a collar with his or her name on it as well as your name, phone number and address.
Make sure that you walk your dog before, not during, stormy weather, and if you have an outdoor cat, make sure it is cared for and has shelter from the storm.
Some dogs can be spooked by thunder. Make sure that all the doors and windows are shut and you know where your pet is before storms strike. Make sure that your safety kit contains an extra leash, food and water bowl for your pet.
Step 4: Do a safety check around your house
It’s important to be aware of trees surrounding your house. You won’t want to have a tree come down on a house while you’re outside or in the upper level of your home. Be mindful of dying trees on your property and trees with large branches close to your house. If you are not sure whether your house is safe from free falls, call a tree removal company and ask them for advice.
It’s also important to move your cars in your garage before a storm gets near. It only takes small-sized hail to cause some damage to your car.
Step 5: Be aware of changing weather
Weather changes constantly. When it comes to severe weather, the radar updates roughly every couple of minutes.
A summer storm can spin up quickly and catch anyone off guard. Keep checking your WKBN weather app if you know that there is a possibility of severe weather that day.
Know that if there is a warning for severe weather in the Valley, WKBN will be streaming live coverage on WKBN.com. Download WKBN’s weather app to stay updated on all of the latest weather updates, and sign up for weather alerts.