Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count. Every year people are affected by severe weather. Annually, in the US, lightning strikes and tornadoes account for roughly 120 fatalities and upwards of 2,000 injuries.
Severe Weather can include:
- Winter storms and extreme cold
- Extreme heat conditions
Watches vs. Warnings
There are two main types of severe weather alerts: A “Watch” and a “Warning.”
A severe weather watch- means that conditions are favorable or capable for the type of event specified to occur. (i.e. Tornado Watch) In the event of a “Weather Watch,” everyone should monitor emergency channels for more information.
A severe weather warning means that the type of event specified has developed and is occurring, or soon will occur in the immediate area. This will pose imminent risk or danger to life and property. “Weather Warnings” usually mean that emergency measures and actions should be taken immediately to safeguard your life and health, and if possible, property.
Planning For Severe Weather Is Critical
All facility employees need to know the severe weather plan for your location. Train all new employees early on so they are prepared for any situation.
- Facilities need to have a solid, executable plan for tornado, heavy rain and flooding as well as lightning.
- Have an alert system or communication plan in place that is always available and loud enough to notify employees in their workspace.
- Identify locations appropriate for a storm shelter.
- Clearly mark all severe weather shelters.
- Make storm shelter areas readily available and accessible to employees at all times.
- Complete a head count duringonce in the shelter.
During Severe Weather:
- Be alert and know the weather forecast for the immediate area.
- Listen to the radio or utilize the internet for updates. Check www.noaa.gov
- Keep supervisors aware of any warnings or watches.
- Make weather plans before the shift/day begins.
- Give workers a “heads up” about weather when the work day begins. Review the severe weather plan and storm shelter locations.
During The Storm:
- Assist any employees in need to the shelter areas.
- Organize employees and do a head count in the shelter areas.
- Remain in shelter until the Warning has expired or an “all safe” is given.
After The Storm:
- Do a full facility head count.
- Perform a safety evaluation of the facility. Look for hazards such as gas leaks, falling debris, electrical hazards, etc.
- Review the severe weather plan for areas of improvement