Severe weather will happen, and eventually it will affect you in some way. So the only thing you can do is to try and be prepared the best you can. There are no easy answers to the many questions and problems that can arise. You have to prepare for your situation with the resources you have available.
Step 1: Identify the severe weather hazards you may face.
In the Central United States, severe thunderstorms are a fact of life. These storms can produce tornadoes, damaging wind gusts, large hail, and heavy rain that can produce flash flooding. At some point in your life, you will likely be faced with one of these hazards.
Step 2: Set up your plan.
Everyone should have a severe weather plan for their home. Likewise, businesses need to have a plan for the workplace. There will be similarities, but there will also be differences between the two. Following are some ideas that can be applied to both.
• Establish who is responsible for the plan. Someone needs to be in charge. For a large workplace that runs several shifts, you may have several people responsible for the plan.
• How will you receive weather warnings? NOAA Weather Radio is a great way to receive severe weather warnings from the National Weather Service. You can also get information from the commercial media, and the Internet. There are also services today that will send weather warning directly to cell phones. Do not depend solely on one method. Have multiple ways to receive critical weather information.
• If you receive a weather warning such that you need to activate your plan, how will you inform the people you are responsible for? In a home that should not be a problem, but in a large workplace you have to have a method for communicating the severe weather information to everyone present. This is also important at large gatherings, such as sporting events or county fairs.
• Establish shelter areas in your home or workplace. Depending on the amount of people who need to be sheltered, multiple areas may be needed. For large events, depending on time available, it is usually better to have people stay instead of rushing to their automobiles. If your home or building is in an area prone to flooding, you need to have an evacuation plan in place.
Step 3: Practice your plan!
• Conduct drills and then review the drill to find strengths and weaknesses and make improvements where necessary. It is hard to foresee every circumstance, but drills can often bring out problems that were not previously seen.