HOOVER, Ala., April, 11, 2013 — The American Red Cross Alabama Region is monitoring the weather system that is moving across Alabama today and is prepared to respond if needed. Red Cross volunteers, supplies, and shelters are on standby, and will be ready to respond to whatever this system may bring.
The Red Cross urges residents to take steps now to stay safe when severe weather threatens. As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends individuals and families respond to severe weather in the following ways.
- Listen to local news or NOAA Weather Radio for emergency updates. Watch for signs of a storm, like darkening skies, lightning flashes or increasing wind.
- Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are likely to occur. Many people struck by lightning are not in the area where rain is occurring.
- If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, take shelter in a substantial building or in a vehicle with the windows closed. Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds.
- If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning. If thunder roars, go indoors! The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.
- Avoid electrical equipment and telephones. Use battery-powered TVs and radios instead.
- Shutter windows and close outside doors securely. Keep away from windows.
- Do not take a bath, shower or use plumbing.
- If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
- If you are outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground; water; tall, isolated trees; and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are NOT safe.
Another thing people can do to help get ready is to download the free Red Cross apps for mobile devices. Apps are available to help during hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and wildfires, another which puts first aid information at someone’s fingertips and another that helps locate Red Cross shelters. The free apps are available for direct download from the Apple or Google Play for Android app stores.