With the hustle and bustle of daily life in Chicagoland, we often forget to think about severe weather that could come our way. Severe storms can appear without warning at any time and bring with them dangerous conditions including high winds, heavy rains, lightning strikes, hail, tornadoes, and flooding. No matter what type of weather is headed your way, knowing how to stay safe beforehand is essential for protecting yourself and your family from harm. Read on as we guide you through how to best prepare yourself ahead of a storm, so you stay safe during severe weather here in Chicagoland.
How to Be Prepared for an Illinois Storm
- Invest in a weather alert radio so you will be automatically notified as soon as a tornado watch or warning is issued for your county. Be sure to know the names of both the county you call home and the ones you visit frequently.
- Develop a family emergency plan and discuss it with the members of your household. Identify a safe meeting place in case you get separated and ensure everyone knows how to reach it. Establish communication methods in case of power outages, such as having a designated emergency contact outside the area.
- Identify safe areas in your home where you can take shelter during severe weather. A basement, storm cellar, or an interior room on the lowest level of your house without windows are generally the safest options. If you live in an apartment building, identify a safe common area or the lowest level available to you.
- Enhance the structural integrity of your house by implementing special fasteners, connectors, and reinforcing bands. You can also safeguard your home by creating a reinforced concrete and steel “safe room” in a designated area of your property.
- Put together a well-stocked emergency kit that includes essential items such as a flashlight, batteries, a portable weather radio, non-perishable food, bottled water, a first aid kit, blankets, and any necessary medications. Ensure you have enough supplies to sustain your household for at least 72 hours.
- Inspect your home and yard for potential hazards. Trim trees and remove dead branches that could fall during strong winds. Secure loose outdoor objects or bring them indoors to prevent them from becoming projectiles in the event of a storm.
What to Do During a Severe Storm in Chicago
1. Stay informed
Stay tuned to local weather updates via weather apps, radio, or television. Pay attention to severe weather warnings, watches, and advisories issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) or local authorities.
2. Monitor the sky
Keep an eye on the sky for changing weather conditions. Watch for darkening skies, rotating clouds, or other signs of severe weather approaching. Lightning, hail, and unusually strong winds are also indicators of potentially dangerous weather.
3. Take shelter when necessary
When severe weather strikes, follow the instructions provided by local authorities. If a tornado warning is issued or you hear a tornado siren, seek shelter immediately in a basement or an interior room on the lowest level. Stay away from windows and protect yourself with a mattress, blankets, or cushions.
4. Stay indoors during lightning storms
If you hear thunder or see lightning, it’s safest to stay indoors. Avoid using electrical appliances, and don’t take showers or baths until the storm passes. Lightning can travel through plumbing and electrical systems, posing a safety risk.
5. Avoid flooded areas
Heavy rainstorms can lead to flash flooding. Never attempt to walk or drive through flooded areas, as it’s difficult to gauge the depth and current of the water. Just a few inches of fast-flowing water can sweep away a person or vehicle. Stay away from flooded areas and contact a flood cleanup professional as quickly as possible after the storm passes.
6. Stay away from downed power lines
If you encounter downed power lines, always assume they are live and dangerous. Keep a safe distance and report them to the appropriate authorities.
In the Chicagoland area, severe weather can be unpredictable and pose significant dangers to your property and safety. It’s important to stay safe by being prepared and informed in the event of a major storm. Be sure to check your local news for current warnings, establish storm protocols and meeting places with your family, and have emergency supplies on hand just in case. It is also good practice to remove dangerous tree branches or potential debris around the property prior to a storm arriving. And during a storm, be sure to take cover inside until it passes through.
If any water or flooding damage occurs, contact ServiceMaster S&R Systems right away for emergency water damage restoration services. With our help, you can restore order as quickly and safely as possible after an unfortunate event. By being aware of how best to handle severe weather conditions in the Chicagoland area ahead of time, steps can be taken to protect you and your family from harm.