Safety Tips



[ Downed Power Lines | Power Outages | Cold Weather ]
[ Driving Tips | Earthquakes | Tornados | Other Info. ]


General

Smoke Detectors

  • install a smoke detector on each level of your home.
  • test smoke detectors once a month.
  • keep your smoke detectors dust free.
  • change your smoke detector batteries twice a year. when you change your clock is a good time to change your smoke detector batteries.
  • never remove working smoke detector batteries to use in toys or for any other reason. smoke detectors save lives!

Escape Planning

  • plan a fire escape plan with your family.
  • make sure all family members are familiar with the plan.
  • practice your escape plan at least twice a year. it is good to practice in the winter so you know what to do in cold weather.
  • every room should have at least 2 ways to escape. an exit without opening a bedroom door is important.
  • decide on a meeting place outside and away from the house so all family members can gather and be accounted for.
  • if you suspect fire, get out and call the fire department from a neighbor's house.
  • never re-enter a burning building!

Downed Power Lines

  • Downed power lines can carry an electric current strong enough to cause serious injury or possibly death. High voltages also may be transmitted through materials other than power lines. A wooden pole, a kite, cable or other normally non-conducting material may carry an electrical current if it becomes wet or soiled.
  • It is not possible to determine if a downed power line is energized. Never touch or attempt to move a downed power line or a person who is in contact with a power line.
  • Keep children and pets away from areas where power lines may have fallen.
  • Don’t drive over downed power lines.
  • If a downed line is near water, keep a safe distance from the line and the water, even if it is a small puddle.
  • If a power line falls over your car, stay in the car. If you must leave the car because of immediate danger, jump free of the car, making sure that no part of your body is touching the car when you come in contact with the ground.
  • Be careful not to stand under tree limbs or power lines. Tree limbs can become weakened during a storm but not fall until several hours or even days after the storm. The same can be true for power lines or poles that sustain damage.
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Power Outage Tips

What to do before, during, and after a power outage.


Before a Power Outage

  • Make sure there are flashlights, a battery-powered radio and fresh batteries in an easily accessible area.
  • Periodically, check supplies of non-perishable foods, bottled water and medication. Try to keep a three-day supply on hand. Stock up if needed.
  • Check medications that require refrigeration to be sure you know if they will be affected by a prolonged interruption of power. Consult a doctor or pharmacist if you’re not sure. You may want to keep a small cooler handy to use for special medication.
  • Always have a first-aid kit with current supplies in a convenient location.
  • In winter, have an alternate source of heating available, along with extra fuel, such as wood for wood-burning stoves and fireplaces.
  • Remember that cordless phones won’t work when the power goes out. Have at least one cord phone or cell phone available for use during power outages.
  • Know how to manually operate your garage door. If power is lost, your garage door opener will not work.
  • Use surge suppressors to protect sensitive electronic equipment, such as computers. If you are home during a severe storm, you may want to unplug sensitive equipment.
  • Be prepared to cook outside on a grill or camp stove. Never bring a grill indoors. Without proper ventilation, grills can be deadly.
  • If it appears that a storm is imminent, take these steps:
    • Fill a tub and spare containers with water in the event the electric water pump or the municipal water system becomes unavailable.
    • Check to ensure that elderly family members or friends who live alone are prepared for the weather.
    • Unplug sensitive equipment.




During a Power Outage

  • Report a power outage to your local power company.
  • Immediately report any power line hazards toyour power company.
  • Do not touch downed or hanging power lines or anything touching them. Visit Downed Power Lines for more information.
  • Monitor the status of power restoration activities on local radio stations.
  • Avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer. Food will stay frozen in a fully loaded freezer for 36 to 48 hours if the doors remain closed. If the freezer is half full, the food will generally keep 24 hours. See Food Safety Information for information on specific food items.
  • Keep candles away from furniture, draperies and other flammable materials. Also, keep children and pets away from open flames.
  • Disconnect or turn off appliances that were on when the power outage occurred. Leave a light on so you will know when power is restored.
  • Use space heaters only in well ventilated areas.
  • Use a camp stove, fireplace or can of sterno for cooking. Don’t use charcoal or any other fuels in unventilated areas.
  • If you leave your home while the power is out, double-check that all heat producing appliances, such as stoves, irons and curling irons are unplugged.
  • If there is severe damage and it appears that the outage will last an extended period of time, consider moving to an alternate location.



If you use a generator use extreme caution and follow these safety guidelines.

  • Consult a licensed electrician to select the right generator for your situation. Make sure that the generator meets national and local electrical safety code requirements.
  • Make sure the generator is in a well-ventilated area to reduce the risk of breathing harmful fumes.
  • Never connect the generator’s electrical output to any home or building electrical circuits.
  • If the generator is connected to a breaker panel or fuse box, turn off or disconnect the main breaker to the house while you are using the generator.
  • Never plug a generator into a wall outlet.
  • Plug appliances directly into the generator.
  • Avoid contact with bare wires and terminals.
  • Always use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) in any damp or highly conductive areas.




After a Power Outage

  • Make sure there are flashlights, a battery-powered radio and fresh batteries in an easily accessible area.
  • Periodically, check supplies of non-perishable foods, bottled water and medication. Try to keep a three-day supply on hand. Stock up if needed.




Planned Outages

Home Entry & Access:

  • If you typically use a garage door opener, make sure you take a house key to regain entry into your home, in the event that your service is still out when you return. Know how to manually operate your garage door. If power is lost, your garage door opener will not work.
  • If your home has a security system, consult your owner’s manual or contact the service you subscribe to, if applicable. You may need to disengage the system before or while your service is interrupted.



Electronic Equipment:

  • Use surge suppressors to protect sensitive electronic equipment, such as computers. If possible, it is recommended to unplug all sensitive equipment before any planned outages. If you forget to do so, unplug the equipment before your service is restored; however, we recommend consulting the appliances’ owner’s manual.
  • If you leave your home while the power is out, double-check that all heat producing appliances, such as stoves, irons and curling irons are unplugged.
  • Make sure you have flashlights, a battery-powered radio and fresh batteries in an easily accessible area.



Medication, Foods & Other Supplies:

  • Check medications that require refrigeration to be sure you know if they will be affected by a prolonged interruption of power. Consult a doctor or pharmacist if you’re not sure. You may want to keep a small cooler handy to use for special medication.
  • Always have a first-aid kit with current supplies in a convenient location.
  • Avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer. Food will stay frozen in a fully loaded freezer for 36 to 48 hours if the doors remain closed. If the freezer is half full, the food will generally keep 24 hours. See Food Safety Information for information on specific food items.
  • Remember that cordless phones won’t work when the power goes out. Have at least one cord phone or cell phone available for use during power outages.
  • Periodically, check supplies of non-perishable foods, bottled water and medication. Stock up if needed.
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Cold Weather Fire Safety Reminders

Fireplaces & Wood Stoves

  • Never leave a fire unattended!!!
  • Have your chimney and fireplace inspected annually by a certified chimney sweep. They will check for creosote build-up, cracks, crumbling bricks, and obstructions.
  • Make sure the fireplace opening is covered with a sturdy metal screen or heat tempered glass doors.
  • To prevent fires in your flue, burn dry, well-seasoned wood. Never burn trash.
  • Make sure your wood stove burns hot twice a day for 15-30 minutes to reduce the amount of creosote buildup.
  • Never burn charcoal indoors. It can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide when burned.
  • Always be certain the fire in your fireplace is out before going to bed. It is extremely important to NEVER close your damper while there are hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper could cause the fire to flare up again and this will cause toxic carbon monoxide to be released into the house.
  • If you are using synthetic logs, always follow the directions on the package. Never break a synthetic log apart to quicken the fire or use more than one log at a time.
  • Place hot ashes outdoors in a covered metal container at least three feet away from anything that could burn.
  • For your own best interest, be sure you notify your insurance company upon installation of any new solid fuel burning stoves.



Portable Heaters

  • Make sure you have at least 36 inches of empty space between all heaters and everything else, like curtains, furniture, papers, and people.
  • Never leave children unattended in rooms with portable heaters.
  • Be sure the heater has a tip-over shut off function.
  • Never use an extension cord with portable electric heaters. It is a common cause of fires.
  • Check the cord on your electric portable heater. If it is cracked or frayed or gets hot, have the heater serviced.
  • Be sure to clean the dust from all heaters. If left to build up, dust and lint can ignite and cause a fire.
  • Be sure to turn portable heaters off when leaving the house or sleeping.
  • Avoid using portable heaters in the bathroom.



Furnace

  • Leave furnace work to experts. Have a qualified technician check and clean the input and controls every year. Have the technician check the walls and ceiling near the furnace and flue. If they are hot, you may need additional clearance or insulation.
  • Be sure the emergency shut off and automatic controls are in good condition.
  • Always keep trash, papers, paint, etc. away from the furnace area.



Other Cold Weather Fire Safety Tips

  • If your pipes freeze, do not try to thaw them with a blowtorch or other open flame. The pipe could conduct heat and a fire could be started. Try a hand held dryer, hot water or a UL labeled device for thawing.
  • Never use an oven or a range to heat your home. This is a safety hazard and could cause a build-up of toxic fumes.
  • Be certain that all windows that are used as emergency exits can still be opened in the winter. Practice your escape plan at this time of year.
  • If there is a fire hydrant near your house, help keep it clear of snow and debris. We need to be able to access it in case of a fire.
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Winter/Bad Weather Driving Tips

Over 450,000 injury crashes occur annually in adverse weather conditions on slick pavement, according to the US Department of Transportation.



Preperation for Bad Weather:

  • Get your car in top shape
    • Check the air, fuel and emission filters, and the PCV valve.
    • Check the battery.
    • Check the antifreeze levels and the freeze line.
  • Know which streets are plowed first: streets with a higher volume of traffic, as well as highways, are often prioritized.

Driving:

  • In winter, consider using snow tires.
  • Slow down, slippery roads make every mistake happen faster and more dramatically.
  • Look ahead, try to be aware of road ice and other slippery conditions.
  • Break Before Turning, smoothly apply your brakes before you reach a corner and then release the brakes and use all the grip of the car to corner.
  • Keep a Greater Following Distance, an easy calculation for this distance is four car lengths for every 10 mph you are traveling.
  • When Skidding, Avoid Target Fixation (and Your Instincts) - you have to go against your natural tendencies, turn into the skid and accelerate.
  • Keep Useful Items in Your Trunk
    • Shovel
    • Tow and tire chains
    • Bag of salt or cat litter
    • Tool kit
    • Ice scraper and snow brush
    • Items to keep you warm such as heavy woolen mittens, socks, a cap and blankets.
  • Be Prepared If You Become Stranded:
    • Do not leave your car unless you know exactly where you are, how far it is to possible help, and are certain you will improve your situation.
    • If you are sure the car's exhaust pipe is not blocked, run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes every hour or so depending upon the amount of gas in the tank.
    • Keep at least one window open slightly. Heavy snow and ice can seal a car shut.
    • Eat a hard candy to keep your mouth moist.
  • Flash floods:
    • "Turnaround, Don't drown"; if you don't know the depth of water before crossing.
    • Abandon stalled vehicles immediately and seek higher ground.
  • Tornadoes:
    • Never try and out drive a Tornado.
    • Leave your vehicle, and go to a concrete shelter.
    • If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in the nearest ditch with your hands shielding your head.
    • Be alert for rapidly rising waters in the ditch.
    • Do not seek refuge in an overpass where winds can be magnified.
  • Hurricanes:
    • Prepare an evacuation plan. Know where you will go and research several alternate routes before a hurricane threatens.
    • Have current maps on hand.
    • Alert friends and family members of your route and destination.
    • Fill your gas tank before the storm - power outages will shut down gas stations.
  • During Summer Heat:
    • Check your tire pressure often with a gauge, especially on long trips.
    • Measure when the tires are cold, before you drive on them.
    • Never leave your child (or pet) unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows down.
    • On hot days, the temperature inside vehicles can climb rapidly and may exceed 100 degrees.
    • Be very careful with children and pets-even when you're at home and the car is parked.
    • Check child seating surfaces and safety belt buckles to prevent burning when securing your child in a safety seat in a car that has been parked in the heat.
    • Use car shades to shade seats (and steering wheel) of your parked car.
    • Flush and refill your cooling system to prevent overheating as recommended in your owner's manual.
    • Check the level, condition, and concentration of the coolant periodically.
    • Never remove the radiatorcap until the engine has thoroughly cooled.
    • Have a professional check the tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses.
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What to do in an Earthquake

An earthquake can strike at any time without warning. Each year, between 70 and 75
earthquakes cause damage around the world. In the United States, a future
earthquake could cost up to $200 billion. There are 41 territories and states in
the U.S. that fall under moderate to high risk of earthquakes. These territories
and states are distributed throughout all of the country.

The state with the most damaging earthquakes is California. However, the state
with the largest earthquakes is Alaska. The largest earthquakes in the U.S.
occurred in Missouri along the New Madrid Fault. These earthquakes occurred in
the early 1800s, had a magnitude larger than 8 on the Richter scale, and were
felt by people all over the Eastern U.S.

What is an Earthquake? What Causes it?

Earthquakes occur when the Earth suddenly begins to shake rapidly. The shaking
is caused by the shifting and breaking of rock beneath the surface of the Earth.
The large plates that form the Earth's surface have been moving under, over, and
past each other for hundreds of millions of years because of the forces of plate
tectonics. When the plates aren't moving, they are locked together building up
energy. When the energy becomes too strong, the plates break apart and cause the
ground to shake. The majority of earthquakes occur near the plates' boundaries,
but some occur in the middle of a plate.

Earthquakes can shake the ground so hard that bridges and buildings collapse. An
earthquake may also cause tsunamis, fires, flash floods, avalanches, and
landslides. They can also disrupt phone, electric, and gas services. There is an
elevated risk of damage for structures built on unstable soil because they are
often shaken off their foundations during an earthquake. Earthquakes in
populated areas frequently cause injury, death, and property damage.

On January 17, 1994, an earthquake struck Northridge, California. Though the
area was modern and designed to withstand earthquakes, the damage the earthquake
caused approached $20 billion. Fortunately, few were killed during the
earthquake. One year later, however, Kobe, Japan was devastated by the most
expensive earthquake in history. The area was densely populated, and the people
were not prepared for an earthquake. A t least 5,378 people died in the
earthquake, and the property damage totaled $96 billion.

Awareness Information

Aftershocks, which are small earthquakes, are common after the main portion of
the earthquake is over. These smaller earthquakes may occur from a few hours to
a few months after the earthquake, and they can damage weakened buildings
further. Some small earthquakes are also foreshocks that signal a larger
earthquake.

The shaking ground that occurs during an earthquake is usually not the cause of
injury or death. Instead, most deaths and injuries occur as a result of falling
objects, flying glass, and collapsing walls. A large amount of earthquake damage
is preventable and predictable. Communities should work collaboratively to
create family and neighborhood emergency plans.

Earthquake Planning

Families should develop specific disaster plans to implement in the event of an
earthquake. Learn about the risk of earthquake in your area and contact local
emergency management facilities such as The American Red Cross, to learn about
earthquake preparations in your area. In spite of the fact that 41 territories
and states are at moderate to high risk, few people know the risk for their
region.

When developing a disaster plan:

  • Choose a "safe place" in every room of your house. Safe
    places may be found under tables and desks or against interior walls. Try to
    find places that you would be able to get to quickly from most places in the
    room. According to studies, people are more likely to experience injury
    during an earthquake if they try to move further than 10 feet.
  • Practice assuming a safe position in each safe place. Drop
    to the ground, hold on to something sturdy, and press your face into your arm
    to protect your eyes. If you practice these actions, they will become an
    automatic response. People often hesitate when natural disasters occur
    because they can't remember what they are supposed to do. Responding
    automatically can help protect you.
  • Practice your safe positions at least twice per year.
    Practicing frequently helps to reinforce the behavior.
  • Talk to an insurance agent. Earthquake insurance
    requirements differ by location. If your home is located near an active
    fault, consider purchasing a policy.
  • Keep people informed. Everyone who spends time in your home,
    including caregivers, babysitters, and guests, should be aware of your
    family's disaster plan. This practice ensures that the people in your home
    will respond to situations appropriately even when you aren't there.
  • Get training. Contact your local Red Cross chapter and sign
    up for a first aid course. Learn how to use a fire extinguisher, and make
    sure all of your training is up-to-date. Knowing that you are trained allows
    you to keep calm in the event of an earthquake.
  • Talk to your family. All family members should know what
    must be done in the event of an emergency. Discussing disasters before they
    happen reduces anxiety and fear.

What to Tell Kids

  • Locate a safe place in your classroom and each room of your house.
    Find a safe place inside of other buildings you enter frequently.

    You will be safer if you only travel short distances when the ground starts
    shaking. You must be prepared wherever you are because an earthquake may
    occur at any time.
  • If an earthquake begins while you are inside, drop, hold on, and
    cover.
    Crawl under a table, desk or bench and hold on to one of the
    legs. Cover your eyes with your arm. If there is nothing for you to crawl
    under, sit down next to a wall toward the middle of the building. Interior
    walls don't collapse as frequently. Move away from anything that may fall on
    you, such as a bookcase. Do not run outside, because debris may fall from a
    building and injure you.
  • Remain in the safe place you chose until the shaking is over, and
    then check yourself for injuries.
    Make sure you are not hurt first,
    and then check on other people. You will be able to help them better if you
    have already taken care of yourself. Move through the area carefully and
    watch for hazards, such as broken glass. Be prepared for aftershocks, which
    are smaller earthquakes that occur after a larger one.
  • Look for fires. The most common hazard after an earthquake
    is fire. Fires occur due to damaged appliances, broken electrical lines, and
    broken gas lines.
  • Do not use an elevator to leave the building. Use the
    stairs.
    During an earthquake, sprinklers and fire alarms will go
    off. There may or may not be a fire, so use the stairs to be safe.
  • If an earthquake begins while you are outside, don't try to go
    inside. Move away from power lines, streetlights, trees, and buildings. Cover
    your head and crouch down.
    It is not uncommon for injuries to occur
    within 10 feet of a building's entrance. Debris may fall from the building
    and injure you if you try to enter. Power lines, streetlights, and trees may
    also fall.

Put Together a Supply Kit for Disasters

An earthquake supply kit should include basic disaster supplies, a
flashlight, and sturdy shoes for each family member.

Protecting Your Property

  • Bolt tall furniture to wall studs. Anchor or brace top-heavy
    objects.
    Such items may fall during an earthquake and cause injury
    or damage.
  • Anchor other items capable of falling, such as computers, books, and
    televisions.
    Items that fall may cause injuries.
  • Install bolts or strong latches on all cabinets. The items
    inside of a cabinet may move around during an earthquake. Latches and bolts
    will stop the doors from opening, which would allow the contents to fall out.
  • Move fragile items, heavy objects, and large objects to the lowest
    shelves.
    When these items are on the lowest shelves, there is less
    chance for damage and injury.
  • Keep china, glass, bottled foods, and other breakable items in closed
    cabinets with latches.
  • Keep flammable items, pesticides, and weed killers in low cabinets
    with latches.
    In confined locations, chemical products aren't as
    likely to cause hazards.
  • If you hang mirrors, pictures, and other heavy items, keep them away
    from places people are likely to sit, such as couches and beds.

    During an earthquake, items may fall off walls, which can cause injuries and
    damage.
  • Secure overhead lights. During an earthquake, lights may
    fall and cause injuries or damage.
  • Secure the water heater by strapping it to wall studs. Water
    heaters are often the best source for water after an earthquake.
  • Secure gas appliances. Gas lines may cause fire hazards
    following an earthquake.
  • Prevent water and gas leaks by installing flexible
    pipefittings.
    These fittings won't break as easily.
  • Repair cracks in foundations and ceilings. If you find signs of a
    structural defect, get expert advice.
    An earthquake can cause an
    existing rupture or crack to grow.
  • Make sure that your house is securely bolted to the
    foundation.
    When a home is bolted to its foundation, it won't be as
    likely to sustain damage during an earthquake. When a home is not bolted, it
    may slide off its foundation.
  • Ask a structural design engineer to evaluate your home.
    Inquire about strengthening tips and home repair. Learn additional ways to
    protect your home and reduce the potential for damage.

Community Education Ideas

  • Request stronger building codes. The building code is a
    community's first defense against damage from an earthquake. These codes
    determine the level of earthquake that each structure must be designed to
    survive in.
  • Publish emergency information in your local newspaper. Print
    the phone number for your local emergency service, hospitals, and the
    American Red Cross.
  • Publish a newspaper series dedicated to locating earthquake hazards
    within the home.
  • Work with the American Red Cross and your local emergency service to
    create a special report for individuals with physical disabilities.
  • Offer advice about home earthquake drills.
  • Conduct interviews with representatives of the water, electric, and
    gas companies about turning off utilities.

What You Can Do During an Earthquake

  • Drop, hold on, and cover! Move to the nearest safe place.
    Try not to move any more than five feet to avoid injury. It is extremely
    dangerous to leave any building during an earthquake because you may be
    injured by falling objects. Fatalities often occur when people exit buildings
    and run. In the United States, it is typically safer to remain in a building.
  • If an earthquake begins while you are in bed, stay there. Use a
    pillow to protect your head and hold on.
    Staying where you are is
    safer than trying to move. If you try to roll to the floor or get to a
    doorway, you may become injured by broken glass on the floor.
  • If an earthquake begins while you are outside, find a safe place away
    from power lines, streetlights, trees, and buildings. Crouch down and remain
    stationary until the earthquake ends.
    Building debris, power lines,
    streetlights, and falling trees can all cause injuries.
  • If an earthquake begins while you are driving, pull your vehicle to a
    safe location, stop the car, and remain stationary with your seatbelt on
    until the earthquake ends.
    Overhead items, street signs, poles,
    power lines, and trees may fall during an earthquake. If you stop your car,
    the risk of injury will be reduced. Hardtop vehicles will also protect you
    from flying or falling objects. Drive carefully after the earthquake ends,
    and avoid ramps and bridges that may have sustained damage.
  • If you are inside when an earthquake begins, don't exit until the
    earthquake is over.
    Injuries are more likely to occur when you try
    to move during an earthquake. When you go outside after the earthquake ends,
    get away from the building quickly so that you don't become injured by
    falling debris.
  • Don't go near windows. A window can shatter with enough
    force to injure you even if you are several feet away.
  • If you are in a tall building during an earthquake, expect that
    sprinklers and fire alarms will go off.
    Earthquakes often cause fire
    sprinkler systems and fire alarms to engage even when there isn't a fire.
    Look for small fires and extinguish them. If you exit the building, use the
    stairs.
  • Move to higher ground if an earthquake occurs while you are in a
    coastal area.
    Earthquakes often cause tsunamis.
  • If an earthquake occurs while you are in a mountainous area, be
    cautious and look for falling rocks or debris.
    Landslides are common
    following an earthquake.

What You Can Do After an Earthquake

  • Check your body for injuries. People often help others
    before they check themselves for injuries. You will have an easier time
    caring for someone else if you have already taken care of yourself.
  • Put on work gloves, sturdy shoes, a long-sleeved shirt, and long
    pants to protect yourself from danger.
    This minimizes the chance of
    injury from broken objects.
  • Help people who are trapped or injured after you have received first
    aid.
    Call 911 and offer first aid when necessary. Do not try to move
    a person that is seriously injured unless he or she is in danger of
    sustaining another injury.
  • Eliminate fire hazards, and extinguish fires when possible.
    Use available resources to eliminate small fires. After an earthquake, fires
    are the most common complication.
  • If you don't smell gasoline or believe that the gas line is damaged,
    do not shut off the gas.
    If you shut off the gas, you must wait for
    a professional to turn it back on in order to avoid injury. After an
    earthquake, it could take months for a professional to turn it on.
  • Clean up flammable liquids immediately.
  • Open cabinets and closets with caution. The contents of a
    cabinet or closet may shift during an earthquake.
  • Look for damage around your home, and evacuate everyone if you
    believe the building isn't safe.
    After an earthquake, aftershocks
    may cause additional damage to an unstable building.
  • Offer assistance to neighbors with special needs. People who
    have disabilities or are elderly may need help. Offer assistance if possible.
  • Listen for emergency information on a battery-operated
    radio.
    This may be the best source of information if your
    electricity is out.
  • Look out for aftershocks. If you feel an aftershock, crouch
    down, hold on, and cover your eyes. An aftershock can occur up to several
    months after an earthquake.
  • Look out for damaged areas, broken gas lines, and fallen power
    lines.
  • Stay away from damaged structures. Do not return to a
    damaged building until authorities declare it safe.
  • Use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns to look for damage in
    your home.
    Using matches, candles, or torches may cause a fire.
  • If you have a chimney, inspect it carefully for damage.
    Damage in a chimney may cause a fire or falling debris. If there is a crack
    in the chimney, it may cause a fire several years later.
  • For insurance purposes, take picture of damages.
  • Don't smoke inside a building as it may cause a fire.
  • Use caution when entering any building. A building may be
    damaged where you don't expect it to be. Be careful with every step.
  • Check windows, staircases, doors, floors, and walls to ensure that
    the structure is not going to collapse.
  • Look for gas line leaks. If you hear a hissing or blowing
    sound, or if you smell gasoline, open a door or window and exit the building
    as quickly as possible. Use the main valve to turn off the gas if possible.
    Go to a neighbor's home to call the utility company. A professional must turn
    the gas back on if you shut it off for any reason.
  • Check electrical systems for damage. If you smell burning
    insulation or you find frayed wires, shut the electricity off at the circuit
    breaker or main fuse box. Do not touch the circuit breaker or fuse box if you
    must step in water to do so.
  • Check water and sewage lines for damage. Do not use the
    toilets if you believe your sewage lines are damaged. If you believe your
    water pipes are damaged, avoid using water from the tap and call the water
    company. To acquire safe water, melt ice cubes or remove it from an undamaged
    water heater.
  • Look out for falling ceiling, drywall, and plaster.
  • Only use the telephone in the event of a life-threatening
    emergency.
    During disaster situations, telephone lines sometimes
    become overwhelmed. Keep them clear for emergency calls.
  • Monitor pets closely. Put dogs on leashes and keep them in a fenced
    area.
    Animals may behave strangely after an earthquake. Dogs or cats
    that are usually friendly may become defensive or aggressive.

Earthquake safety tips written by John Cain, and the original version of these tips can be found on the US Insurance Net site

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Tornado Safety

Tornado watch - conditions are favorable over a large area for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes to develop.



Tornado warning - a tornado has been detected or seen, is on the ground and is moving and is expected to move through your area soon. You should TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY.

    Environmental clues to look for:
      Dark, often greenish sky
    • Large hail
    • Wall cloud
    • Loud roar, similar to that of a freight train
    If you are outdoors:
    • Seek shelter in a substantial building immediately. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in a ditch or low spot with your hands shielding your head. DO NOT try to outrun a tornado in your car; instead, leave it immediately and seek shelter.
    • Avoid all downed power lines. Assume they are live with electricity.
    If you are at home or in a small building:
    • Go to the lowest floor. Stay away from windows. Closets, bathrooms and other interior rooms offer the best protection. Get under something sturdy or cover yourself with a mattress.
    If you are in a school, hospital or shopping center:
    • Go to a pre-designated shelter area. Stay away from large open areas and windows. DO NOT go outside to your car.
    If you are in a high rise building:
    • Go to an interior small room or hallway on the lowest floor possible. DO NOT use the elevators. Use the stairs.
    If you are in a mobile home or vehicle:
    • Get out! Mobile homes and vehicles are easily tossed about by strong winds in the tornado. Take shelter in a substantial structure. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in a ditch or low spot with your hands shielding your head.

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