RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — When dangerous storms surface, sometimes you only have a matter of minutes to get into a safe place, but there are other things you can do in advance to protect your family.
First, make sure you have enough food.
“You need to be prepared to sustain yourself for up to three days,” says Dawn Eischen, with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.
You should also establish a safe place at home. This safe place could either be in the basement or inside a closet, and make sure everyone in your family knows about the safe place.
Three, make sure you have flashlights.
“Flashlights with batteries and don’t keep your batteries inside your flashlight, keep them separate, because if you keep them inside your flash light, they are going to go dead,” Eischen told 8news anchor Ava-joye Burnett.
You should also be prepared if a storm catches you while you are on the road.
“Many years, people were saying that an overpass is the right place to go, that is not the right place, because debris will get up under that overpass and if you are under there, you will get hit by that flying debris. The best place is to be is in a ditch and as flat as you can be in a ditch,” says Eischen.
Drivers should also remember the saying, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown”.
“You have a false sense of security sometimes when you see a little bit of water over the road, you think, well, I can just drive over that. If you can’t see what’s under that water, the road may have washed away,” says Eischen.
You should also pack a bag with extra clothes and leave it in your trunk, along with keeping an extra pair of boots just in case you have to walk long distances.
The Virginia Department of Emergency management also has an app for iPhones and Androids to help you and your family stay safe. The app is called “Ready Virginia”. A key feature of the app is its messaging capability that can connect all your family members.
“Especially as parents, we get so worried about, are my children safe, are my family members safe, so just knowing I’m safe, can often get you through those tough times,” says Eischen.