Thursday, September 5, 2013

What’s Waiting in Your Safe Place? 3 Actions for a Severe Weather Watch

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.


  1. Thank goodness I've never experience this kind of emergency. I grew up in California where we have earthquakes, in fact I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area where the San Andreas fault line is. I've experienced many earthquakes, but never a bad one. I don't think there really IS a safe place in a bad earthquake. They used to say stand under a door jamb, but recently I've read that's not a good idea. The next best was supposed to be out in the yard away from buildings and any flying glass. They can cause fires, though, so a go-bag and purse, keys, etc. would still be a good idea to have handy.

  2. Thanks for the comments, Barbara. The latest earthquake safety info suggests lying alongside something sturdy that is "taller" than your body. For instance, instead of going under a bed for protection from falling debris, you should lay alongside it. Its height would catch a falling beam, for example, and protect your head yet you would not risk having the bed itself collapse on you. It is a controversy, but makes sense to me. In an RV, I suppose the greatest danger in an earthquake would be if tree limbs are above or if a steep grade is very close (landslide danger). Earthquakes figure into the plot of the sequel to my first novel.