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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Fire Prevention 24-7 – Be prepared for severe weather


It’s that time of the year – time for severe weather. How prepared are you?

We live in a state with unpredictable weather. People don’t think that anything bad, like weather emergencies, will ever happen. Obviously, I hope they never do. But the reality is that they can happen, and we must make sure that we are prepared for it. 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.

In Illinois, nearly 80% of all tornadoes occur from April 1 through June 30, during the late afternoon and early evening hours (weather.gov). 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. Make sure you have a weather app downloaded on your phone.

Another good idea is to have a NOAA weather radio, which can be found at many local stores. 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’s 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.

How about the outdoor weather sirens? The sirens are tested on the first Tuesday of every month at 10AM. Residents have often reported that they can’t hear them inside their homes. Sirens are an outdoor warning system designed only to alert individuals 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 and/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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