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15 severe weather safety tips for residents at risk

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Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)

 With the slight risk of severe weather that could bring damaging winds and hail, the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)® offers the following 15 safety tips for residents to stay safe if the power goes out and hail falls.

Power Outage Safety

1. Keep a supply of flashlights, batteries and a battery-powered radio on hand. Do not use candles if the power goes out as they pose a fire hazard.

2. Fill plastic containers with water, leaving about an inch of space inside each one (water expands as it freezes so it is important to leave room in the container for the expanded water). Place containers in the refrigerator and freezer to help keep food cold if the power goes out.

3. Avoid opening the fridge or freezer. Food should be safe as long as the outage lasts no more than four-six hours.

4. Back up computer files and operating systems.

5. Unplug or disconnect any electrical devices that were in use when the power went out. Turn off all lights but one, to alert you when power resumes.

6. If the power goes out, move to the lowest level of your home and wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to keep cool.

7. Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty. If the heat is intense and the power may be off for a long time, consider going to a movie theater, shopping mall or "cooling shelter" that may be opened in your community.

8. Remember to provide plenty of fresh, cool water for your pets.

9. When power comes back on, it may come back with momentary "surges" or "spikes" that can damage equipment such as computers and motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer or furnace.

10. When power is restored, wait a few minutes before turning on major appliances to help eliminate further problems caused by a sharp increase in demand.

Staying Safe If Hail Falls

11. Close your drapes, blinds or window shades to prevent potential injury from broken glass blowing inside. Do not try to go outside to protect your property during a storm. Stay indoors until the storm has passed.

12. Stay away from skylights, windows and doors.

13. After the storm has passed, verify that you can safely move around outside.  Avoid any broken or downed branches and power lines.

14. Check the trees, shrubs and plants around your house.  If they are stripped of their foliage, there is a possibility your roof is damaged.  Dented patio covers, screens or soft aluminum roof vents could also indicate roof damage.

15. Cover any broken windows and holes in your roof to prevent water intrusion following hail damage.

For more home and family safety tips visit the Protect Your Home in a FLASH or FLASH.

About FLASH

Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)®, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is the country's leading consumer advocate for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and manmade disasters. FLASH collaborates with more than 120 innovative and diverse partners that share its vision of making America a more disaster‐resilient nation including: BASF, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Florida Division of Emergency Management, The Home Depot®, International Code Council, Kohler® Generators, National Weather Service, Portland Cement Association, RenaissanceRe, Simpson Strong-Tie®, State Farm™, USAA® and WeatherPredict Consulting Inc. In 2008, FLASH opened the interactive weather experience StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes® in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Learn more about FLASH and gain access to its free consumer resources by visiting www.flash.org or calling (877) 221- SAFE (7233). Also, get timely safety tips to ensure that you and your family are protected from natural and manmade disasters by subscribing to the FLASH blog – Protect Your Home in a FLASH.