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When thunder roars, go indoors

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In north central Texas, thunderstorms and lightning can strike at any time of the year, quite often unexpectedly.  Lightning can occur up to ten miles away from a storm and may be conducted through a number of surfaces including the ground.  A direct strike is not necessary for severe injury or death to occur.  Power outages, fires, downed trees and damaged homes are also deadly threats that may accompany a thunderstorm. 

For those reasons and many more, forecasts of severe weather should be taken seriously.  You need to know what to do when storms approach.

Deafening claps of thunder and bright strikes of lightning can be unnerving events for adults, but they can be especially frightening for young children and pets.  When preparing our families for emergencies, it is essential that all members of the family are considered. 

Children should know where to go to be safe, how to stay in touch with their parents, family, or friends, and involved in the family emergency planning process. 

Pets and service animals should always be kept in a safe, secure place, especially if left alone.  Shelters predictably receive more lost pets immediately following storms as a result of frightened pets running away from home.

If you or someone in your family has an access, medical, or functional need, make sure to keep an emergency supply kit on hand that includes any specialty items, such as medical equipment and prescriptions.  Remember, loss of electrical power is very common during a storm, so be sure to include back-up power in your response plan.  As always, it is important for every member of the family, including pets, to always have several days of food and water on hand.  In case of an evacuation, be prepared to quickly take important documents, clothes, cash, and pets with you. 

Because disasters can strike at any time, you may not be home when they occur.  You may be at work, at school, on vacation, or in your car.  Giving some consideration in advance and during your outings to how you might respond in a storm, or some other crisis, should include being  aware of  emergency exits, strong buildings, and other locations that could provide shelter from the storm. Listen for alert and warning systems, emergency radio and telephone texts.   It is also a good idea to keep a small kit of emergency supplies in your car. 

While these thunderstorm and lightning planning tips are familiar to most of us, it is always a good idea to review your plans, check your supplies, and make sure everyone in your family is in the know.

For more information and planning tips refer to www.ready.gov, or contact the Collin County Office of Emergency Management at 972-548-4383.