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Protect Yourself During an Extreme Wind Storm.

This page is focused on providing comprehensive guidance on protecting yourself, your community, and your business during the unpredictable and devastating events of derechos and tornadoes. These natural disasters pose significant risks to life and property, but with proper preparation and proactive measures, you can enhance your safety and minimize potential damage.

On this page you will find:

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Protect Yourself and Your Family

Protecting yourself and your family during a derecho or tornado is of utmost importance. Here are some crucial steps to help ensure your safety:

Stay informed: Monitor weather updates from reliable sources, such as local authorities or the National Weather Service. Be aware of any evacuation orders or shelter-in-place advisories in your area.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) app, can be used to receive real-time weather alerts, send notifications to loved ones, locate emergency shelters and FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers, and more.

The American Red Cross Emergency App, lets you customize 40 different weather alerts and has an interactive map to help you find open Red Cross shelters.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers useful tips for preventing heat-related illness.

Also, using as a valuable resource can help you proactively protect yourself before a disaster strikes by providing accurate and up-to-date information on severe weather conditions, warnings, and forecasts specific to your location, empowering you to make informed decisions and take necessary precautions to ensure your safety.

People with disabilities: Preparing for disasters is crucial for everyone, but it becomes even more vital for individuals with disabilities, who may have specific needs and require additional support during emergencies. Find practical steps and considerations to ensure the safety and well-being of people with disabilities in the face of potential disasters here.

Create an Emergency Plan: Develop a detailed plan with your family members and pets on what to do before, during, and after the storm. Designate a safe meeting place, establish communication methods, and assign responsibilities to each family member.

Prepare an Emergency Kit: Assemble a well-stocked emergency kit that includes essential supplies such as non-perishable food, drinking water, medication, flashlights, batteries, a first aid kit, important documents, and a battery-powered radio.

Reinforce Your Home: If time allows, secure your property by installing storm shutters or boarding up windows. Trim trees and remove any loose objects that could become projectiles in high winds.

Identify a Safe Shelter: Identify a sturdy, designated shelter area within your home or community. In the case of tornadoes, move to a windowless interior room on the lowest level of your house, such as a basement or storm cellar.

Evacuation Planning: If advised to evacuate, follow the instructions promptly. Prepare an evacuation route and communicate it with your family members. Pack essential items, including your emergency kit, and ensure your vehicle is in good condition.

Communication: Maintain open lines of communication with your family members throughout the event. Agree on a communication plan in case you get separated and ensure everyone knows how to contact each other.

Follow Safety Guidelines: During the storm, stay indoors, away from windows and exterior walls. Listen to weather updates and instructions from local authorities. If you are in a mobile home or temporary structure, seek sturdier shelter immediately.

After the Storm: Even after the derecho or tornado has passed, exercise caution. Watch out for downed power lines, debris, and potential hazards. Do not enter damaged buildings until they have been deemed safe by professionals.

Seek Support: Reach out to local emergency services and support organizations for assistance, if needed. They can provide resources for recovery, temporary shelter, and aid in the aftermath of the storm.

Remember, your safety and the safety of your family should always take precedence during these severe weather events. By staying informed, preparing in advance, and following these guidelines, you can significantly reduce the risks associated with derechos and tornadoes.

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Protect Your Home

Protecting your home during a derecho or tornado is crucial to minimize damage and ensure the safety of yourself and your family. Here are important steps to help safeguard your home:

Reinforce Doors and Windows: Install impact-resistant windows or cover them with storm shutters. Reinforce entry doors with deadbolt locks and sturdy hinges. Secure sliding glass doors with additional locks or braces.

Clear the Surroundings: Remove any loose outdoor objects that could become projectiles in high winds. Trim tree branches near your home and secure patio furniture, grills, and other outdoor items. Reinforce or store lightweight structures, such as sheds or playhouses.

Strengthen the Roof: Ensure your roof is in good condition. Repair any loose or damaged shingles and reinforce the roof’s edges to prevent uplift. Consider using derecho straps or clips to secure the roof to the walls.

After a federal disaster declaration, individuals may be eligible for the Individual and Households Program (IHP) which provides financial and direct aid to eligible individuals and households affected by a disaster, who have uninsured or under-insured essential expenses and serious needs. Consider checking whether your state, county, or city has a Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) which may be able to assist with roof repairs or replacement.  Additionally, you may be eligible for a Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan to aid in repairs.

Reinforce Garage Doors: Garage doors are often vulnerable during strong winds. Reinforce them with a bracing system designed to withstand high pressures. If possible, park vehicles inside the garage during the storm.

Secure Important Documents and Valuables: Protect important documents, such as insurance policies, identification papers, and personal records, by storing them in a waterproof and fireproof container. Consider digitizing important documents and storing them securely in the cloud.

Unplug Electronics: Unplug non-essential electronics to protect them from power surges or electrical damage. Consider using surge protectors for essential appliances and electronics that need to remain plugged in.

Shut Off Utilities if Advised: In certain situations, local authorities may advise shutting off utilities, such as gas, electricity, and water. Familiarize yourself with the locations of the shut-off valves and learn how to turn them off safely.

Create an Emergency Kit: Assemble an emergency kit with essential supplies, including non-perishable food, drinking water, pet supplies, medication, flashlights, batteries, a first aid kit, and a battery-powered radio. Keep the kit in a readily accessible location.

Seek Shelter in a Safe Room: Identify a safe room within your home, preferably on the ground floor and away from windows. It could be a basement, storm cellar, or an interior room without windows. Reinforce the safe room’s structural integrity if possible.

Remember, personal safety should always be the top priority during severe weather events. If local authorities issue evacuation orders, follow them promptly. By taking proactive measures to protect your home, you increase the chances of minimizing damage and ensuring the well-being of your family during derechos or tornadoes.

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Protect Your Business

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides guidelines and regulations that businesses must follow to protect workers during emergencies. Their role in a business’s emergency preparedness and response is to establish regulatory requirements, provide guidance, and promote a safe and healthy work environment for employees, thereby minimizing risks and ensuring the protection of workers during emergencies. Find more information on how to prepare and train for emergencies and the hazards to be aware of when an emergency occurs here.

Protecting your business during a derecho or tornado is crucial to minimize damage, ensure employee safety, and maintain business continuity. Here are key steps to safeguard your business:

Develop a Business Continuity Plan: Create a comprehensive Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) that outlines steps to be taken before, during, and after a disaster. Identify critical operations, key personnel, and establish alternative communication channels and backup systems.

Secure Your Premises: Assess your building’s vulnerabilities and take necessary precautions. Install impact-resistant windows, reinforce doors, and secure loose objects or equipment that could become projectiles. Consider investing in a backup power generator to ensure essential systems remain operational.

Back Up Data and Documents: Regularly back up important business data, including financial records, customer information, and inventory lists. Store backups in a secure, off-site location or utilize cloud-based storage services. Protect physical documents such as contracts, permits, licenses, insurance policies, and employee records with waterproof and fireproof storage solutions.

Review Insurance Coverage: Consult with your insurance provider to understand your coverage and ensure it is sufficient to protect your assets and operations. Consider obtaining coverage for business interruption, property damage, and other relevant policies specific to your industry.

Establish Emergency Communication: Implement a reliable communication system to stay connected with employees and stakeholders during a disaster. Use mass notification systems, emergency contact lists, or designated communication apps to provide updates, instructions, and support.

Educate and Train Employees: Conduct regular training sessions to familiarize employees with emergency procedures and evacuation routes. Ensure they understand their roles and responsibilities during a crisis. Encourage employees to report potential hazards or vulnerabilities in the workplace.

Secure Equipment and Inventory: Safeguard valuable equipment, machinery, and inventory by moving them to secure locations or elevating them above potential flood levels. Protect sensitive electronic equipment from power surges and water damage.

Implement Remote Work Options: Establish remote work capabilities where appropriate to ensure business operations can continue during and after a storm. This may include providing employees with laptops, remote access to necessary systems, and secure communication channels.

By proactively implementing these measures, you can enhance the resilience of your business in the face of derechos or tornadoes. Prioritizing employee safety, protecting assets, and having a well-defined plan in place will help your business navigate through these challenging times and recover more efficiently.

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Protect Your Community

Protecting your community during a derecho or tornado requires a collective effort to ensure the safety and well-being of its members. Here are essential steps to help safeguard your community:

Establish a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT): CERT members can provide immediate assistance and support during emergencies, such as search and rescue operations or basic medical aid. Click here to find out more about CERT members.

Develop a Community Emergency Plan: Collaborate with local authorities, community leaders, and emergency management agencies to create a comprehensive emergency plan tailored to your community’s specific needs. This plan should include evacuation routes, designated shelters, communication channels, and roles and responsibilities for community members.

Promote Awareness and Education: Conduct community-wide education campaigns to raise awareness about derecho and tornado preparedness. Provide information on how to create personal emergency plans, assemble emergency kits, and recognize early warning signs. Encourage participation in training sessions and drills.

Identify Community Shelters: Identify and prepare designated community shelters capable of providing a safe haven during severe weather events. Ensure these shelters are properly equipped with emergency supplies, including food, water, medical kits, and communication tools.

Establish Communication Channels: Develop reliable communication channels within the community to disseminate important information during emergencies. Utilize platforms such as community websites, social media groups, or dedicated communication apps to share updates, evacuation notices, and safety instructions.

Coordinate with Local Authorities: Maintain a strong relationship with local emergency management agencies, law enforcement, and first responders. Collaborate in the planning and execution of evacuation procedures, response efforts, and recovery initiatives.

Support Vulnerable Community Members: Identify and support individuals who may require additional assistance during emergencies, such as older adult residents, those with disabilities, or families with young children. Establish a system to check on their well-being and provide aid if needed.

Community Resource Mapping: Create a resource map that identifies key facilities, such as hospitals, schools, and community centers, as well as available resources, such as generators, emergency supplies, and medical facilities. This will help in efficient resource allocation and response coordination.

Foster Community Resilience: Encourage community members to engage in activities that promote resilience, such as disaster preparedness workshops, neighborhood cleanup initiatives, or community-wide emergency drills. Building a resilient community strengthens its ability to withstand and recover from disasters.

By implementing these measures, your community can enhance its preparedness and response capabilities during derechos or tornadoes. Prioritizing communication, education, and collective action will help protect lives, support recovery efforts, and foster a stronger and more resilient community.

Knowledge And Preparedness Are Key

Safeguarding yourself, your community, home, and business during the devastating forces of derechos or tornadoes is paramount. By implementing the recommended protective measures, you can significantly reduce risks, enhance preparedness, and increase the likelihood of a successful outcome in the face of these natural disasters.
Stay informed about weather conditions, heed the advice of local authorities, and follow evacuation orders when necessary. Develop comprehensive emergency plans for your family, community, and business, ensuring everyone knows their roles and responsibilities.

By fortifying your home, reinforcing vulnerable areas, and securing outdoor objects, you can minimize potential damage and increase the chances of your property weathering the storm. Prepare emergency kits with essential supplies and safeguard important documents to facilitate a smoother recovery process.

In times of crisis, the strength of a community shines through. Work together with neighbors, establish communication channels, and support vulnerable community members. By fostering a sense of collective responsibility, you can ensure that no one is left behind and everyone has the help they need.

For businesses, developing robust continuity plans, implementing remote work options when appropriate, protecting vital data and assets are critical. By prioritizing the safety of employees and customers, businesses can navigate through the challenges and maintain essential operations during and after the storm.

Remember, recovery takes time and resilience. Be patient, seek support from local authorities and relevant organizations, and extend a helping hand to those in need. By working together as individuals, communities, and businesses, we can overcome the challenges posed by derechos or tornadoes and rebuild stronger and more resilient than before.

Ultimately, the key to resiliency lies in proactive preparation, effective communication, and collective action. With the knowledge and resources provided here, you are better equipped to face the uncertainties of severe weather events and emerge safer and stronger on the other side.

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