Every home should have a weather alert radio. See the Weather Alert Radio web site.
The Fire Service is involved in more than just fire emergencies. Here is some very important information to keep you safe when bad weather strikes. For more information on weather safety please visit the sites below.
Farmer's Almanac for Southeastern States
NOAA National Weather Service
NOAA National Weather Service: Greenville/Spartanburg
NOAA National Weather Service: Stormready/Awareness
NOAA Weather Education
SC Hurricane Guide
Tornadoes are the most violent atmospheric phenomenon on the planet. Winds of 200-300 mph can occur with the most violent tornadoes. The following are instructions on what to do when a tornado warning has been issued for your area or whenever a tornado threatens:
Conduct tornado drills each tornado season. Designate an area in the home as a shelter, and practice having everyone in the family go there in response to a tornado threat.
Discuss with family members the difference between a "tornado watch" and a "tornado warning."
Tornado Watch: Conditions are suitable for the formation of tornadoes. Keep up with the latest developments using your weather radio or local radio and TV stations. Be prepared to take cover if a tornado is spotted. If you are outside and hear a steady 3 minute siren, go to the nearest radio or TV for further information and instructions. See Spartanburg County warning signals.
Tornado Warning: A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been spotted. Your weather radio and local radio and TV stations can keep you updated about the path of the storm. If a tornado is spotted in your area, take cover immediately.
Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on tornadoes.
Have disaster supplies on hand:
Flashlight and extra batteries
Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries
First aid kit and manual
Emergency food and water
Non-electric can opener
Cash and credit cards
Learn these tornado danger signs:
Large hail: Tornadoes are spawned from powerful thunderstorms and the most powerful thunderstorms produce large hail. Tornadoes frequently emerge from near the hail-producing portion of the storm.
Calm before the storm: Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still.
Cloud of debris: An approaching cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible.
Funnel cloud: A visible rotating extension of the cloud base is a sign that a tornado may develop. A tornado is evident when one or more of the clouds turns greenish (a phenomenon caused by hail) and a dark funnel descends.
Roaring noise: The high winds of a tornado can cause a roar that is often compared with the sound of a freight train.
Calm behind the storm: Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.
What do I do when a tornado is approaching?
IN HOMES OR SMALL BUILDINGS:
Go to the basement (if available) or to an interior room on the lowest floor, such as a closet or bathroom. Wrap yourself in overcoats or blankets to protect yourself from flying debris. Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. Protect your face and head. Stay away from elevators.
IN SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS, FACTORIES, OR SHOPPING CENTERS:
Go to interior rooms and halls on the lowest floor. Stay away from glass enclosed places or areas with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums and warehouses. Crouch down and cover your head. If you can find a strong counter, take cover underneath. Stay away from parked cars.
IN HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS:
Go to a small interior rooms or halls, preferably on a lower level. Stay away from exterior walls or glassy areas.
IN CARS OR MOBILE HOMES:
ABANDON THEM IMMEDIATELY!! Most deaths occur in cars and mobile homes. If you are in either of those locations, leave them and go to a substantial structure or designated tornado shelter.
SUITABLE STRUCTURE IS NOT NEARBY:
Lie flat in the nearest ditch or depression and use your hands to cover your head. If there is no time to escape, lie flat on the ground.
AFTER A TORNADO:
Help injured or trapped persons:
Give first aid when appropriate. Don't try to move the seriously injured unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.
Turn on radio or television to get the latest emergency information.
Stay out of damaged buildings. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, or gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately.
Leave the buildings if you smell gas or chemical fumes.
Take pictures of the damage both to the house and its contents for insurance purposes.
Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance; infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
Do you know what to do if you see water crossing over a roadway?
Flash floods and floods are the #1 weather - related killer with around 140 deaths recorded in the U.S. each year. In the picture above, the man and his child were swept away in their truck by water flowing over a roadway, before being rescued at the last minute.
Flash flood safety rules:
If ordered to evacuate or if rising water is threatening, leave immediately and get to higher ground!
IF CAUGHT OUTDOORS:
Go to higher ground immediately! Avoid small rivers or streams, low spots, canyons, dry riverbeds, etc.
Do not try to walk through flowing water more than ankle deep!
Do not allow children to play around streams, drainage ditches or viaducts, storm drains, or other flooded areas!
IF IN A VEHICLE:
DO NOT DRIVE THROUGH FLOODED AREAS! Even if it looks shallow enough to cross. The large majority of deaths due to flash flooding are due to people driving through flooded areas. Water only one foot deep can displace 1500 lbs! Two feet of water can EASILY carry most automobiles! Roadways concealed by floodwaters may not be intact, as the picture below shows the aftermath of a flood.
Lightning causes around 100 deaths in the U.S. annually (more than hurricanes and tornadoes combined). Lightning can strike up to several miles away from the thunderstorm.
Estimating the Distance from a Thunderstorm:
Because light travels much faster than sound, lightning flashes can be seen long before the resulting thunder is heard. Estimate the number of miles you are from a thunderstorm by counting the number of seconds between a flash of lightning and the next clap of thunder. Divide this number by five. Important: You are in danger from lightning if you can hear thunder. Knowing how far away a storm is does not mean that you're in danger only when the storm is overhead.
General lightning safety rules:
Avoid using the telephone (except for emergencies) or other electrical appliances.
Do not take a bath or shower.
IF CAUGHT OUTDOORS:
Go to a safe shelter immediately! such as inside a sturdy building. A hard top automobile with the windows up can also offer fair protection.
If you are boating or swimming, get out of the water immediately and move to a safe shelter away from the water!
If you are in a wooded area, seek shelter under a thick growth of relatively small trees.
If you feel your hair standing on end, squat as shown in the diagram below with your head between your knees. Do not lie flat!
Avoid: isolated trees or other tall objects, bodies of water, sheds, fences, convertible automobiles, tractors, and motorcycles.
A person who has been struck by lightning does not carry an electrical charge that can shock other people. If the victim is burned, provide first aid and call emergency medical assistance immediately. Look for burns where lightning entered and exited the body. If the strike cause the victim's heart and breathing to stop, give cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) until medical professionals arrive and take over.
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