Severe Storm Season: Being Prepared the Key to Staying Safe

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The arrival of spring is also the arrival of severe weather in Texas. Mansfield Public Safety officials want to ensure that all residents are prepared for the variety of extreme weather events the state experiences, from tornados and floods to hail and straight line winds.

“Even though technology has improved and allows us to keep residents more informed of severe weather faster than ever, it’s still important for them to be prepared,” said Assistant Fire Chief Roy McCleary. “Every home should have a weather radio to provide up-to-the-minute information on weather in our area. There should also be working flashlights in the home in case of power outages. These preparations can make a difference for families if there is an emergency situation as a result of severe weather.”

The National Weather Service offers the following tips for developing a severe weather plan for families:

Tornadoes

  • 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 from flying debris.
  • 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.
  • In high rise buildings, go to interior small rooms or halls. 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.
  • If no suitable structure is nearby, lie flat in the nearest ditch or depression and use your hands to cover your head.

Flash Flood

  • If flooding occurs, get to higher ground. Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, canyons, washes etc.
  • Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing fast. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams.
  • Road beds may be washed out under flood waters. NEVER drive through flooded roadways. If your vehicle is suddenly caught in rising water, leave it immediately and seek higher ground.
  • Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

Lightning

  • Avoid using the telephone (except for emergencies) or other electrical appliances.
  • Go to a safe shelter immediately, such as inside a sturdy building. A pickup truck or 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 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.

For more information, contact the Mansfield Fire Department at 817-276-4790 or visit the city website at www.mansfieldtexas.gov.

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