Health & Safety Institute Blog

April 17, 2014

Expecting the Unexpected: Resources for Springtime Weather Emergencies

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Tornado season is here, are you prepared?

Spring is upon us, giving us all more opportunities for outdoor activities, but it also brings with it crazy weather patterns, like lightening, thunderstorms, flooding, and, more specifically, tornados.  Tornado season is here, and we want to make sure you are prepared.

Live Science gets it right, when they say, “Tornadoes are the most powerful, unpredictable and destructive weather system on Earth.” The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also provided a great resource on, “How to Prepare for a Tornado.” 

Since protecting and saving lives is our first priority here at HSI, we gladly take time out of our day to practice safety drills at work, such as tornado warning procedures.  Along with our customers, we want our team to be safe and know what to do in extreme weather conditions, because knowing what to do and where to go in an emergency while at work is important; bad weather doesn’t wait for you to be home. 

America’s PrepareAthon wants you to know the risks, have a plan and practice it. They have three things for you to remember: Be Smart, Take Part, and Prepare. 

The Boston College Office of Emergency Management offers a useful PDF overview that outlines typical severe spring weather (including a glossary of NOAA warning terminology), and which lists a number of useful suggestions for before, during, and after the big storms and severe weather. Today I wanted to highlight their auto safety section, to remind everyone that, just because you’re in your car, it doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for being vigilant and tuned into the environment around you:

Auto Safety Steps:

  • Plan long trips carefully, listening to the radio or television for the latest weather forecasts and road conditions. If bad weather is forecast, drive only if absolutely necessary.
  • Keep your gas tank full in case evacuation is needed. Keep your vehicle maintained and in good working order.
  • Assemble an Emergency Car Kit including: flashlight with extra batteries, basic first-aid kit, necessary medications, pocket knife, booster cables, blanket/sleeping bag, extra clothes (including rain gear, gloves and socks), non-perishable foods, non-electric can opener, basic tool kit (pliers, wrench, screwdriver), tow rope, container of water and a brightly colored cloth to serve as a flag.
  • If in a car during a tornado, get out immediately and lay flat in a ditch or low lying area. Do not get under an overpass or bridge. Never try to outrun a tornado.
  • Do not drive through a flooded area. Six inches of water can cause a vehicle to lose control and possibly stall.
  • A foot of water will float many vehicles. Cars, SUVs and pickup trucks can be swept away in just 2 feet of moving water. Do not drive around road barriers – they are there for a reason.
  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.

You can download the Boston College PDF here.

The experts at FEMA also have a number of resources available for businesses and individuals to “prepare, plan, and stay informed.” Visit the site at

Disaster preparedness training from Summit

When disaster strikes, panic and confusion often follow close behind. The key to an efficient emergency response is proper planning and preparation. All employees need to be aware of procedures to follow in an emergency situation — be it due to weather, fire, chemical release or any other type of incident.

This attention-getting program will help all your workers prepare and plan for any potential emergency. In this training program, Disaster Readiness, your employees will learn:

  • The importance of planning and preparing for emergency situations
  • Variables to consider for proper preparation
  • Elements of a comprehensive emergency response plan
  • Best practices for a variety of emergency situations

Original post April 17, 2014. Update April 16, 2015.




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