The Global Climate Risk Index 2017 analyzes the extent to which countries have been affected by the impact of weather-related loss. This year’s index confirms that, although less developed countries are generally more likely to be devastated by weather than industrialized nations, even areas that are typically immune from such risk would do well to prepare. Regardless of where you stand on the issue of climate change, experts agree that the risk of extreme weather events threatens the entire world. And wherever it strikes, extreme weather profoundly impacts facilities, operations and personnel—financially, emotionally and physically.
So how should you prepare for a weather-related disaster?
- Don’t wait until the threat is imminent. Instead, proactively plan and stock supplies and run drills to make sure your family, friends, staff and/or building occupants are set to “weather the storm.”
- Familiarize yourself with the threats that are most likely to strike your region. If you aren’t sure, check the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Storm Prediction Center to find out about your geographic risks.
- Take specific steps to prepare for each and every potential weather-related emergency. Here are a few specific tips the handle some of the most common extreme weather emergencies:
Extreme cold, sleet and snow
- Dress in layers to keep warm and dry.
- Limit your exposure to the cold.
- If you plan to use a space heater or fireplace, keep clothes, drapes and other flammables away from all heating sources. Turn them off before leaving a building or going to sleep.
- If you must go outside, watch for signs of hypothermia, including uncontrollable shivering, weak pulse, disorientation, incoherence and drowsiness, and frostbite, skin discoloration and numbness.
- Don’t overexert yourself. When shoveling snow or even walking in deep snow, avoid straining to prevent over exertion or a heart attack.
Thunder and Lightning
The sound produced by high temperature bursts of lightning, thunder rapidly expands surrounding air, resulting in a sonic boom.
- If you are inside, steer clear of exterior windows.
- If you are outside, avoid isolated tall trees.
- Wherever you are, seek inside shelter immediately.
- Within a building, avoid using electricity, which contains conductive elements.
- Designate a safe room to shelter in place during the storm.
- Practice tornado drills at home and in the office.
- Remove dead or diseased trees near buildings.
- If you are in your car, drive to a safe shelter location. Or, if that is not possible, stay in the vehicle, buckle your seatbelt, and place your head between your knees.
- The CDC offers tips for safety after a tornado, including watching for downed power lines, and avoiding the use of gas-powered generators or heaters inside a building.
- Allied Universal Training System subscribers have access to a tornado module, available at no extra charge.
Safely managing extreme weather events requires planning and teamwork with building occupants and staff. Remember that safety is a daily priority for everyone, regardless of whether the disaster you face is weather related. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.