Get Prepared for Storm Season - What Essentials Do You Need in a Severe Weather Emergency Preparedness Kit?
“Americans live in the most severe weather-prone country on Earth. Each year, Americans cope with an average of 100,000 thunderstorms, 10,000 of which are severe; 5,000 floods; 1,000 tornadoes; and an average of 2 landfalling deadly hurricanes. And this on top of winter storms, intense summer heat, high winds, wildfires and other deadly weather impacts.”- StormReady
Weather is one element beyond our immediate control. But, we can control how we deal with it. Preparation is key to minimizing the risks and dangers associated with severe weather. With a few pointers, and a few life-saving emergency weather supplies, you can face the weather with confidence.
Dangers of Severe Weather
Severe weather is indiscriminate. Although different severe weather situations are more common in certain regions, no region is safe from all severe weather threats— thunderstorms, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires—can be found across the United States. Hurricanes are most destructive along coastlines, but the storms can reach hundreds of miles inland. The Western states see the highest volume of wildfires, but wildfires can and have happened in every state. In the United States, tornadoes can strike anywhere, as can severe thunderstorms and flooding. The FEMA America’s PreparAthon website has a great guide, Get the Facts: Know Your Risk, for spring hazards including: wildfire, hurricane, tornado, thunderstorm and flash flooding, and provides facts and tips for preparation in detail. The takeaway: everyone, everywhere needs to prepare for severe weather.
The chart above gives a summary of all the weather related fatalities in the United States in 2012, compared to the 10-year average and 30-year average. As trends change, one thing maintains; that there is a need to prepare for weather, as it continues to claim lives. The NOAA Summary of Natural Weather Statistics has more information about which states and situations surround the fatalities.
Knowing your risk will help you appropriately prepare a plan. We have outlined general preparation measures that should be taken for all nationwide weather hazards.
Severe Weather Preparation–Plan for Communication
Connecting with family members is a priority when disaster strikes. Severe weather—wind, tree branches, and flooding— can knock down power lines cutting you off from TV and standard radio broadcasts. Severe weather can also interfere with radio towers and cell phone and internet service, like this town in Massachusetts that lost service for 11 hours. Discuss with your family what to do in the situation of no cell phone service, Internet or power— how to get in touch with each other and how to receive emergency news or weather alerts. FEMA has a good template for establishing a family communication plan. Make a plan of how to communicate, or where to go and meet or what to do if severe weather strikes and family members are not together. Discuss courses of action for each scenario. The ready.gov website is a great resource for determining how to prepare for different locations; school and workplace plan, commuter emergency plan, and have a great section of the website dedicated to building emergency disaster kits specific to that locations.
That brings us to Step 2: gathering all the emergency supplies and tools needed in case an emergency strikes, including a communication device.
Build an Emergency Preparedness Kit
Lightning, strong wind gusts carrying lose debris, and flash flooding can all result from a severe thunderstorm. Each of these elements can cause the loss of power to a residence. Much of your emergency kit should center around supplies that will help you in the event of a power outage. The Center for Disease Control has a comprehensive list of safety measures that should be taken and what you need to know if power is lost; including food and water safety, how to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, how to deal with extreme heat or cold, how to treat electrical shock and what to do if a power line falls on your car or property.
Below features a basic checklist from FEMA for what you should include in your emergency kit.
Check off MORE of your list with the Cobra CWR 200! The NOAA Weather Radio also acts as a flashlight and a power source that can be used to charge a smartphone so you can stay in connected.
Food, water and a communication device top the list. If power goes out, the food in the fridge and freezer will become unsafe for consumption. Your city may be placed under a boil alert if the water filtration plants cannot function properly (which could also pose a challenge with an electric stove), and you will need a way to stay connected and receive these community and weather alerts.
Cobra NOAA weather radios provide civil and weather alerts and connect you to the community in the event of a power outage.
What is the Best Weather Radio?
Review of Cobra NOAA Weather Radios vs. Competitor NOAA Weather Radios:
Cobra Emergency NOAA weather radios are an affordable and reliable option to receive all NOAA Weather Radio Hazards. The National Weather Service provides NOAA Weather Radio Hazards as a public service. This is a nationwide network that continuously broadcasts weather information and emergency alerts. SAME Messaging technology allows users to receive alerts relevant to their community, but it requires a special receiver to get the alerts.
This is where the Cobra CWR 200 Weather radio comes in. The Cobra CWR 200 is a certified NOAA radio with SAME messaging.
The following features make the Cobra CWR 200 a reliable addition to any emergency kit:
● Portable— bring the radio with you to stay informed on the move.
● Can charge your smartphone— this radio can run on batteries or a charge. If power is down, you can actually plug your smartphone into the radio to get charged
● Tri-Color LED Warning light— the light flashes red for high threat levels, orange or yellow to signify the level of threat.
● Flashlight— built right into the radio
● TORNADO Mode button— this silences all alerts except for tornados and other extreme emergencies
● Radio can be charged off batteries— which is a major advantage if power is out for an extended time period
● USB Charger & AC Adapter for convenient charging
The Cobra CX312A-1 is another Cobra weather radio option that also functions as a two-way radio. It is a great accessory to include in your backpack if you are traveling to a remote location, or going on an outdoor adventure. If you are out of cell phone range you can connect with fellow travelers, and also have access to all of the NOAA weather alerts.
The chart below shows the radios compared to two competitors. The Cobra Weather Radio backup battery power, smartphone charging, and ease of multiple charging options make Cobra a convenient and add-value option for weather radios.
Be safe, ready and prepared when storm season strikes— make an emergency communication plan and emergency kit. Cobra will be participating in several National Weather Service awareness events in the coming months. Stay tuned for more information on these topics through our social media channels, or share any thoughts and opinions with us using the hashtag #CobraPrepared.
Emergency Weather Planning and Preparation Online Resources
The following resources provide more information on how to prepare for severe weather.
http://www.ready.gov/- Website dedicated to empowering Americans to prepare and respond to natural and manmade disasters.
http://www.fema.gov/plan-prepare-mitigate- Larger scale preparation ideas for protecting homes, communities, businesses, and national preparation measures.
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/about.html#.U07MReZdVa5- NOAA’s Weather Ready Nation is another great website for offering tips and background information on how to prepare for severe weather.
http://www.redcross.org/prepare - American Red Cross- Plan & Prepare Section gives guidelines and checklists for preparing your home and family, school and students, and workplace and employees for when disasters strike. Also provides detailed coverage of Hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake and fire topics.
http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster-safety-library Safety checklists for a variety of emergencies.
Power Outage Checklist by the American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4340180_PowerOutage.pdf