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Staying Safe Outdoors When a Storm Alert is Issued

April 11, 2013

We’re outside during storm season for many reasons—sporting events, concerts, picnics and pool parties to name just a few. No matter where you find yourself in the upcoming storm season, there are ways to prepare for inclement weather. Some of the tips could save your life and most of them take very little time and effort.

Any time you’re outdoors…

  1. Get to know your surroundings including nearby shelters, exits and exactly where your car is from where you are, but don’t take shelter under scaffolding or tents during high winds

  2. Keep close tabs on others with you like your friends, children, family, etc.

  3. Don’t plan on taking shelter under trees

  4. Stop your golf game when a storm is approaching—you don’t want to be holding a metal rod during a storm

  5. If you can hear thunder, even in the distance, it’s still possible that lightning can strike near you so get off the golf course or out of the pool fast.  Remember – “When thunder roars, go indoors.”

  6. Be aware that many campgrounds are located in low lying areas and are susceptible to life-threatening flash floods, even if rainfall amounts don’t seem significant.  Find out if your campground has an emergency plan and a tornado shelter.  Most camping areas don’t have storm sirens, and those that do likely won’t sound for flooding

When you’re at an outdoor venue…

  1. Be prepared to get yourself and your party to a safe location on your own. Venue employees may not be able to

  2. If you are evacuated, don’t return until instructed to do so by authorities

  3. “Storm Ready” signs mean the site has an emergency plan and an alert announcement system.

Always keep in mind that just because you’re outdoors, it doesn't mean you’ll be able to hear storm warning sirens. It’s important to carry a portable weather alert radio with you at all times when you’re outdoors. Cell phones with weather apps are helpful to keep an eye on the forecast, but they’re not always reliable. Some weather apps need background data feed enabled to work correctly and may not receive alerts unless they are open on your phone.

Interesting fact: Linkin Park became the first touring music group to earn “Storm Ready” recognition from NOAA for meeting NOAA planning, preparedness and alerting requirements. The StormReady program has helped over 2000 communities develop emergency plans to handle severe weather.

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