With a potential for heavy rainfall, damaging winds, large hail and isolated thunderstorms impacting our area on Thursday, Atlantic County emergency officials are reminding residents and businesses to be prepared with the following tips. To learn more, visitwww.ReadyAtlantic.org, Atlantic County’s emergency information website.
BEFORE A THUNDERSTORM
· Learn the thunderstorm danger signs.
- Dark, towering, or threatening clouds
- Distant lightning and thunder
· Have disaster supplies on hand.
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Portable, battery operated radio and extra batteries
- First aid kit and manual
- Emergency food and water
- Non electric can opener
- Essential medicines
- Cash and credit cards
- Sturdy shoes
· Check for hazards in the yard.
- Dead or rotting trees and branches can fall during a severe thunderstorm and cause injury and damage.
· Make sure that all family members know how to respond after a thunderstorm.
· Teach family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity and water.
· Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, police, fire department, and which radio stations to tune for emergency information.
DURING A THUNDERSTORM
· Secure outdoor objects such as lawn furniture that could blow away or cause damage or injury. Take light objects inside.
· Shutter windows securely and brace outside doors.
· Listen to a battery operated radio or television for the latest storm information.
· Do not handle any electrical equipment or telephones because lightning could follow the wire. Television sets are particularly dangerous at this time.
· Avoid bathtubs, water faucets, and sinks because metal pipes can transmit electricity.
· Attempt to get into a building or car.
· If no structure is available, get to an open space an squat low to the ground as quickly as possible. (If in the woods, find an area protected by low clump of trees--never stand underneath a single large tree in the open.) Be aware of the potential for flooding in low-lying areas.
· Crouch with hands on knees.
· Avoid tall structures such as towers, tall trees, fences, telephone lines, or power lines.
· Stay away from natural lightning rods such as golf clubs, tractors, fishing rods, bicycles, or camping equipment.
· Stay from rivers, lakes, or other bodies of water.
· If you are isolated in a level field or prairie and you feel your hair stand on end (which indicates that lightning is about to strike), bend forward, putting your hands on your knees. A position with feet together and crouching while removing all metal objects is recommended. Do not lie flat on the ground.
If in a car:
· Pull safely onto the shoulder of the road away from any trees that could fall on the vehicle.
· Stay in the car and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rains subside.
· Avoid flooded roadways.
ESTIMATING THE DISTANCE FROM A THUNDERSTORM
Because light travels much faster than sound, lightning flashes can be seen long before the resulting thunder is heard. Estimate the number of miles you are from a thunderstorm by counting the number of seconds between a flash of lightning and the next clap of thunder. Divide this number by five.
IMPORTANT: You are in danger from lightning if you can hear thunder. Knowing how far away a storm is does not mean that you're in danger only when the storm is overhead. Hail is produced by many strong thunderstorms. Hail can be smaller than a pea or as large as a softball and can be very destructive to plants and crops. In a hailstorm, take cover immediately. Pets and livestock are particularly vulnerable to hail, so bring animals into a shelter.
AFTER A THUNDERSTORM
· Check for injuries.
· A person who has been struck by lightning does not carry an electrical charge that can shock other people. If the victim is burned, provide first aid and call emergency medical assistance immediately. Look for burns where lightning entered and exited the body. If the strike cause the victim's heart and breathing to stop, give cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) until medical professionals arrive and take over.
· Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, elderly, and people with disabilities or special needs.
· Report downed utility wires.
· Drive only if necessary. Debris and washed-out roads may make driving dangerous.