Are You Ready for a Thunderstorm?
Information courtesy of:
American Red Cross
Federal Emergency Management Agency
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Reprinted by Permission of the American Red Cross (1997)
Here's what you can do to prepare yourself and your family
for a Thunderstorm.
Before lightning strikes:
Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flushes
of light, or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of
If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm
to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately!
Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television
for the latest weather forecasts.
When a Storm approaches:
Find shelter in a building or car. Keep car windows
closed and avoid convertibles. Telephone lines and metal
pipes can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances. Avoid
using the telephone or any electrical appliances.
Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any
Turn off the air conditioner. Power surges from lightning
can overload the compressor, resulting in a costly repair
Draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break
due to objects blown by the wind, the shades will prevent
glass from shattering into your home.
If caught outside:
If you are in the woods, take shelter under the shorter
If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter
Protecting yourself outside:
Go to a low-lying, open place away from trees, poles,
or metal objects.
Make sure the place you pick is not subject to flooding.
Be a very small target:
Squat low to the ground. Place your hands on your knees
with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest
Do not lie flat on the ground-this will make you a larger
After the Storm passes:
Stay away from storm-damaged areas.
Listen to the radio for information and instructions.
If someone is struck by lightning:
People struck by lightning carry no electrical charge
and can be handled safely.
Call for help. Get someone to dial 9-1-1 or your local
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) number.
The injured person has received an electrical shock and
may be burned, both where they were struck and where the
electricity left their body. Check for burns in both places.
Give first aid. If breathing has stopped, begin rescue
breathing. If the heart has stopped beating, a trained
person should give CPR.
Learn first aid and CPR:
Take a Red Cross first aid and CPR course. Call your
local Red Cross chapter for class schedules and fees.
Plan and get ready:
A thunderstorm is always accompanied by lightning. Thunderstorms
are intense local storms averaging 20 miles across and reaching
as high as 10 miles. Thunderstorms occur in all 50 states
and all U.S. territories.
Be prepared by having various family members do the activities
on the checklist below. Then get together to discuss and
finalize your Family Disaster Plan.
Pick a safe place in your home where family members can
gather during a thunderstorm. This should be a place where
there are no windows, skylights, or glass doors.
Location of safe place:____________________________
Discuss how you would know if a tornado is part of a thunderstorm.
Does your community have a warning system? What other ways
would you be notified of a tornado watch or warning?
How we would be warned:___________________________
Pick a safe place to be in your home in case of a tornado.
The safe place you picked for a thunderstorm may not be
the safest place to be during a tornado. If you hear a loud
roar or hear a tornado warning, you need to go to the lowest
floor of your home into a room where there are no windows
or glass doors. (If you have a basement, make that your
safe place to be for a tornado.)
Location of safe place to be in case of a tornado:__________________
Show children how to practice squatting low to the ground
to be the smallest target possible for lightning in case
they get caught outside in a thunderstorm. Show them how
to place their hands on their knees with their head between
Practice drill conducted:_____________________ (date)
Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit in a clearly labeled,
Location of Disaster Supplies Kit:______________________
Take an American Red Cross first aid course to learn how
to treat burns and how to give rescue breathing and administer
Household member(s) trained in first aid:____________________
Certifications good through:_____________________ (date)
And remember...when a thunderstorm, tornado, earthquake,
flood, fire, or other emergency happens in your community,
you can count on your local American Red Cross chapter to
he there to help you and your family. That's been our role
for more than 100 years.
NOAA PA 93051