The recent weather events in the US have been more than a typical blustery winter. As climate change creates more dramatic storm systems, business and homeowners need practice safety during and after a significant wind event.
Let’s talk about safety in the aftermath of a tornado or derecho event:
The first job after an event is to determine that the event is completely over - while wind events are very loud and it may seem like the event has died down, there may be a ‘second half’ to the storm. If you can look at radar on your computer or mobile device, check to be sure that the event has moved on before leaving your shelter.
Next, take time to listen to your structure - severe wind events can cause instability in the structure where you have sheltered. Listen for structural sounds such as gas hissing or water running from broken water pipes. You may also hear the groaning of support beams, signaling that your structure is unstable. Based on this information, you should adjust your exit plan to utilize a nearby window or service door instead of exiting the way you entered the structure. DO NOT use elevators after a tornado.
As you prepare to exit the structure - look carefully for downed power lines outside. If a power line is down, you will need to exit a different way. Power lines should always be considered ‘hot’ -- it is impossible to tell if a wire is electrified through visual inspection.
Tune into the local news feed on your phone to locate emergency shelter locations if your home has become unsafe from storm damage. When traveling to these safe locations, be aware that objects may fall from above (tree limbs/power lines) and that debris on the ground may be dangerous (nails, glass, etc.) so take extra care to monitor your total surroundings.
DII is your partner in disaster planning and recovery. If you have not yet created a disaster plan for your family or business, please contact your DII representative to build a plan for protecting, recovering, and rebuilding after a major event.