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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Fire Prevention 24-7 – Severe weather preparedness month


This month is severe weather preparedness month. Kind of fitting with us having a blizzard one day and seventy degrees the very next. I often hear people say, “That will never happen to me,” or “That will never happen here.” And I always tell them that the question is not IF it is going to happen, it is WHEN is it going to happen? So, we need to make sure we are prepared.

Much of the U.S. is at risk for severe weather, which can cause dangerous and sometimes life-threatening conditions. Snowstorms, extreme cold, hurricane force winds, torrential rains and flooding, and lightning can all wreak havoc on our daily schedules. Preparing before a disaster strikes and knowing what to do during and after a storm, will help ensure you and your family greatly reduce your risk for injury and damage to your home.

Our suggestion is to develop and practice a plan before a severe weather event. Include a plan for pets and add any transportation routes and destinations in the plan in case you need to evacuate. Prepare an emergency supplies kit for both family members and pets ahead of time. Be prepared to evacuate if authorities tell you to do so. Stay out of flood waters, if possible, and do not drive into flooded areas. Even water only several inches deep can be dangerous. If you experience downed power lines, always assume they are energized. Stay away from the area and report any downed lines to 911 immediately. It is also a good idea to unplug appliances and other electrical items, such as computers and televisions, to prevent damage from surges caused by lightning strikes. You also want to make sure your house number can be seen from the street, if you need help from first responders.

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Now let’s talk about outdoor warning sirens. The sirens are tested on the first Tuesday of every month at 10AM. Residents have often reported that they cannot hear them inside their homes. Sirens are an outdoor warning system designed only to alert those who are outside, that something dangerous is approaching.

Did you also know that Naperville does NOT have an ‘all-clear’ siren? So, if you hear the sirens going off multiple times, there is potential danger passing through your area. Your best bet is to have a weather radio or weather apps on your smartphone, to stay up to date on potentially severe weather in the area.

Stay safe Naperville!

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Soraya McLaughlin
Soraya McLaughlin
Soraya McLaughlin is the Naperville Fire Department Community Education Specialist. Contact her via email at mclaughlins@naperville.il.us.


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