A severe weather watch issued in your area is your signal to take 3 actions before a severe weather warning is issued.
1. Make sure your weather alert device is on and has working batteries (and a fresh set nearby). Of course, this should be checked regularly during your region’s storm season, but a double-check when a “watch” is issued is important. Have one warning device ready to take with you to your home’s “safe place” – the space in your home where you go with your family once a warning is issued.
2. Everyone in the home should wear a flashlight, whistle and shoes. Wearing shoes or having them immediately accessible can help avoid injuries from broken glass or other debris after an event. An around-the-neck lanyard or a pouch for clipping to clothing will keep a small flashlight and loud whistle handy for children. Not only is the light important for getting to your home’s safe place if your electricity goes out, but a light and whistle can aid in rescue if someone becomes trapped beneath debris.
3. If not already there, your emergency “go bag” or 72-hour kit(s) should be taken to your safe place. Ditto for your purse and/or wallet and vehicle keys.
- Your go-bag, also sometimes called a 72-hour kit, should contain things such as copies of important papers in a waterproof pouch, nonperishable snacks, survival supplies, etc. Several good lists for 72-hour kits are available online, but make sure to modify the kit for your own family. The paperwork is important in case your originals are damaged or missing after a storm. You may need the info for insurance claims, medical care, etc.
- If you do not have extra supplies waiting in your safe location, at a minimum take some bottled water, blankets and pillows when a watch is issued. A warning may last only minutes, but it could also last for hours. Also have your purse, wallet and keys.
Make these preparations during a watch, so you’ll be ready to take shelter immediately if a warning is issued.