What You Need to Know Now
Seasonal Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Tips
Extreme Heat: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety
- Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable yet annually many people succumb to extreme heat
- Historically, from 1979-2003, excessive heat exposure caused 8,015 deaths in the United States
During this period, more people in this country died from extreme heat than the hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined. In 2001, 300 deaths were caused by excessive heat exposure. For more information visit: CDC - Extreme Heat Preparedness and Response
Monsoon Safety Tips
The National Weather Service has established firm dates for monsoon season, beginning June 15 and ending September 30. Much like the reason that hurricane season was established, NWS hopes to keep the public aware of the monsoon dangers throughout the time period when summer storms can happen.
Plan Ahead Before the Storm
- Before going on an outing, listen to the weather reports on radio and TV. The National Weather Service issues Arizona weather watches and warnings via radio and TV.
- A severe thunderstorm warning means that life-threatening storms with winds of at least 60 miles per hour or flash flooding are about to occur or have been reported.
- Have an emergency kit ready in your house and car including first aid items, water, ready-to-eat food, battery-powered radio and flashlights with extra batteries. Do not use candles or oil lamps - they are fire hazards.
- When you're outside, regularly scan the skies 360 degrees around you and overhead. There’s no mistaking the tall, skyscraper-like cumulonimbus clouds or the darkening sky.
- Listen for thunder. Anytime you hear thunder, get indoors immediately. Postpone outdoor activities until at least a half hour after you hear the last sounds of thunder or see the last flashes of lightning.
- Do not wait for official warnings before you seek shelter. If you feel threatened, don't hesitate to take cover. The National Weather Service provides advance warning of most storms but severe storms can arise undetected - especially when the storms are producing mostly high winds and little to no rain.
When A Storm Begins
- Turn off all unnecessary electrical equipment. Unplug the computer.
- Stay off the phone unless you need to call 911.
- Stay away from all appliances, wiring, metal objects and water.
- Move to an interior room of the building. Stay away from windows and doors.
- Minimize your lightning risk. Read the Lightning Safety section below for more info.
- If you're driving when a serious storm begins:
- Pull over to a safe parking place and wait for the storm to pass
- Keep your windows and doors closed
- Turn off your lights
- Don't touch any metal parts of the vehicle
- Don't park your car under a tree. High winds can break branches and topple even the sturdiest tree.
- If electrical lines fall on your vehicle, stay inside until emergency crews give the o.k. to come out.
- If you must continue driving, drive slower. Leave plenty of room between you and the next vehicle.
- Obey all caution signs.
- Do not try to cross flooded sections of roadway or washes or drive around barricades. It's dangerous and it's illegal. Read about Arizona's stupid motorist law.
- Slow down when you drive through standing water. Even small amounts can cause your vehicle to hydroplane and lose control.
- Be very cautious at night. It's much harder to detect flooded areas in the dark.
- Lightning kills an average of 125 people annually in the United States and injures more than 500. Follow these lightning safety rules; they may save your life.
- When thunderstorms are forecast, keep an eye on the sky and when a thunderstorm threatens, stay indoors or in an automobile (not a convertible).
- Do not use the telephone except for emergencies.
- If you are caught outside, avoid tall, isolated trees and utility poles. Avoid projecting above the landscape; don't stand on a hilltop. In a forest, seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees. In open areas, go to a low place such as a ravine or valley.
- Get off and away from open water. Avoid tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts and other metal vehicles. Avoid lines, wire fences, metal pipes and railings. Put down golf clubs. If you are in a group in the open stay several yards apart.
- If you are caught in an open area far from shelter, and you feel your hair stand on end, lightning may be about to strike you. Drop to your knees and bend forward putting your hands on your knees. DO NOT lie flat on the ground.
Lightning First Aid:
Persons struck by lightning receive a severe electrical shock and burns, but they carry no electrical charge; handling the victim will cause you no harm. Prompt action can revive someone who appears to have been "killed." When a group has been struck, treat the "apparently dead" first.
The American Red Cross recommends that if a victim is not breathing, give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until medical help arrives. If the victim is not breathing and has no pulse, the properly trained should administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Victims who appear stunned or otherwise unhurt may also need attention. Check for burns, especially at fingers and toes and next to buckles and jewelry.