Severe Weather: How to Prepare for Thunderstorms


Thunderstorms, as mentioned in the other article, are a common occurrence. They can happen in certain conditions but at the same time are possible at anytime. There is also a need to be safe in these sort of storms are they can turn dangerous fast.  There are also some things which you can do, which are also listened to the American Red Cross website which are important to help prepare for these storms.

  • Learn about your local community’s emergency warning system for severe thunderstorms
  • Discuss thunderstorm safety and lightning safety with all members of your household
  • Pick a safe place in your home for household members to gather during a thunderstorm this should be away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail
  • Make a list of items to bring inside in the event of a severe thunderstorm
  • Make trees and shrubbery more wind resistant by keeping them trimmed and removing damaged branches
  • Protect your animals by ensuring that any outside buildings that house them are protected in the same way as your home
  • Consult your local fire department if you are considering installing lightning rods
  • Get trained in first aid and learn how to respond to emergencies
  • Put together an emergency preparedness kit
  • Review the Be Red Cross Ready – Thunderstorm Safety Checklist

For an emergency kit, and you can also look at the American Red Cross website for this, but it should include:

Water—one gallon per person, per day
Food—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare
Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
Extra batteries
First aid kit
Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
Multi-purpose tool
Sanitation & personal hygiene items

Copies of personal documents
Cell phone with chargers
Family & emergency contact information
Extra cash

There are also somethings according to the Red Cross to do during the storm and can also be found at their website too.

  • Listen to local news or NOAA Weather Radio for emergency updates. Watch for signs of a storm, like darkening skies, lightning flashes or increasing wind.
  • Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are likely to occur. Many people struck by lightning are not in the area where rain is occurring.
  • If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, take shelter in a substantial building or in a vehicle with the windows closed. Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds.
  • If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning. If thunder roars, go indoors! The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.
  • Avoid electrical equipment and telephones. Use battery-powered TVs and radios instead.
  • Shutter windows and close outside doors securely. Keep away from windows.
  • Do not take a bath, shower or use plumbing.
  • If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
  • If you are outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground; water; tall, isolated trees; and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are NOT safe.

After the storm, there are some simple tips for what to do after the thunderstorm has finally passed according to the American Red Ross.

  • Never drive through a flooded roadway. You cannot predict how deep the water may be.
  • Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk from the effects of severe thunderstorms.
  • Continue to listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or to local radio and television stations for updated information or instructions, as access to roads or some parts of the community may be blocked.
  • Help people who may require special assistance, such as infants, children and the elderly or disabled.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.
  • Watch your animals closely. Keep them under your direct control.

So if sometime gets struck by lightning, there are some things to do to help the person according to the American Red Cross.

  • Call for help. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number. Anyone who has sustained a lightning strike requires professional medical care.
  • Check the person for burns and other injuries. If the person has stopped breathing, call 9-1-1 and begin CPR. If the person is breathing normally, look for other possible injuries and care for them as necessary. People who have been struck by lightning do not retain an electrical charge and can be handled safely.


Finally, the last thing to do is to notify your family that you are safe. This can be done also through the American Red Cross website, or according to the American Red Cross by calling 1-866-GET-INFO to register yourself and your family members.  This is important in case a disaster strikes because have you ever worried about someone else? There are family probably worried about you too. So know these steps and have a disaster case ready in case of an emergency. For a printable thing to check out in case of a thunderstorm, download these Thunderstorm Safety Checklists listed below, for all the tips mentioned here. I hope you stay safe this spring. Good luck.

Thunderstorm Safety Checklist–English

Thunderstorm Safety Checklist–Spanish

Author: Courtney Swessinger

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