If you follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn, you might have noticed that we shared a selfie last week with the caption #SafePlaceSelfie. We hope that if you follow us on those social media platforms, you caught the message and that this will serve as a great recap for you. However, if you aren’t on social media very often and missed it, this post is especially for you!
The #SafePlaceSelfie campaign originated in 2016, inspired by the National Weather Association, and the National Weather Service began to amplify the message and initiative, so that hopefully the campaign will be a nationwide initiative. Though I can’t speak for everyone, I know that for Alicia and I personally (and I assume this holds true for all or nearly all meteorologists), our core desire is to help our friends, families, and communities be prepared for hazardous weather….which means #SafePlaceSelfie is right up our alley!
Many experts say that taking the time to identify your safe place is the most essential preparedness activity. Regardless of what the weather hazard is, all the warnings and emergency kits and communication plans become less important if you don’t know where to go to stay safe. This is true for tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, lightning, tsunamis, rip currents, and every other natural hazard.
Having a plan in place before disaster strikes eliminates confusion in high stress environment and saves lives. This was proven just last month when many lives were saved by sheltering in their safe places during an active weather day with multiple dangerous tornadoes. Check out the list below for more information on weather hazards and examples of safe places for each!
Tornadoes can be extremely dangerous. Safe places include storm shelters and basements — but if not available, an interior room without windows can also be protective. If you receive a tornado warning, take shelter immediately!
Lightning strikes the U.S. 25 million times a year, which sometimes results in death or permanent injury. You are safest indoors, or inside a hard-topped enclosed vehicle.
During a flood, water levels and flow speed can quickly change. You are safest by staying indoors, or seeking higher ground if shelter isn’t available. If you’re stuck outside when a flash flood occurs, do not attempt to cross flood waters by vehicle or on foot.
During high winds, tree damage is expected, and loose objects can become airborne and dangerous. You are safest indoors, away from windows, in an interior room.
Heat is the leading cause of weather-related deaths most years. You are generally safe indoors with the AC on, while staying hydrated. If you can’t easily get indoors, stay in the shade.
Tsunamis are rare but incredibly destructive, so know where to go if you’re by the coast. You are generally safer by going to official evacuation zones, higher ground, or further inland.
Rip currents kill over 100 beach-goers in the U.S. each year. When visiting the ocean, you are safest at beaches with lifeguards. Learn more about rip currents in our recent blog.
An earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the ground, so having a plan ahead of time is critical! Practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On with family and coworkers.
Once you’ve established your most likely hazardous weather threat(s) and where your safe place is for each of those, you might want to consider what items to add to a hazardous weather preparedness kit. Check out this blog for a detailed list, and always feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns you might have!.