Safety when a storm hits
General safety tips
- Monitor WRAL-TV, WRAL.com, and local radio stations for updates.
- Stay indoors in an interior room, away from doors and windows.
- Stay away from telephones, electrical outlets and water pipes, all of which can conduct lightning.
- Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.
- If power goes off, turn off major appliances to avoid a surge when electricity is restored.
- Turn off electricity if flooding begins.
- Don’t go outside in the brief calm during the eye of the storm.
- Listen to local officials for the all clear.
Driving in an emergency
- Fill your car's gas tank before you leave since you won't know how far you'll have to go.
- Evacuate in a calm, orderly manner, and obey the instructions of the officers directing traffic.
- Steer clear of flooded roads and intersections. You can lose control of your vehicle in several inches of water, and your car can be swept away in less than a foot of water. Flash floods often cause fatalities when motorists try to drive on flooded sections of roads. If you can't see the markings on the road, don't drive through the water.
- If there is an explosion or other factor that makes it difficult to control the vehicle, pull over, stop the car and set the parking brake.
- If the emergency could impact the physical stability of the roadway, avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other hazards.
- If a power line falls on your car you are at risk of electrical shock, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.
- Always wear a seat belt. Seat belts save lives and injuries. Airbags are designed to work with your seat belt. Otherwise, the airbag could hit your chest with the force of a baseball bat.
- If you become drowsy, open the windows, turn on the radio, or pull over and take a nap, even 20 minutes if you need to.
- Don't rubberneck. Drive by an accident scene at a safe speed and keep your eyes on the road. Also, don't talk on a cell phone, read a map, or have any other distractions while driving.
- Listen to the radio for information and instructions as they become available.
- Once the emergency has passed, stay off the roads so they will be clear for emergency vehicles. Do not return until local officials say it is safe to do so.
At a shelter
- Take blankets or sleeping bags, flashlights, special dietary foods, infant needs and lightweight folding chairs.
- Register every person arriving with you at the shelter.
- Do not take alcoholic beverages or weapons of any kind to a shelter.
- Be prepared to offer assistance to shelter workers if necessary.
- Stress to all family members their obligation to keep the shelter clean and sanitary.
Rip current safety tips
When at the beach:
Whenever possible, swim at a lifeguard-protected beach.
- Never swim alone.
- Learn how to swim in the surf. It's not the same as swimming in a pool or lake.
- Be cautious at all times, especially when swimming at unguarded beaches. If in doubt, don’t go out.
- Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. Lifeguards are trained to identify potential hazards. Ask a lifeguard about the conditions before entering the water. This is part of their job.
- Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist along side these structures.
- Consider using polarized sunglasses when at the beach. They will help you to spot signatures of rip currents by cutting down glare and reflected sunlight off the ocean’s surface.
- Pay especially close attention to children and elderly when at the beach. Even in shallow water, wave action can cause loss of footing.
If caught in a rip current:
- Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
- Never fight against the current.
- Think of it like a treadmill that cannot be turned off, which you need to step to the side of.
- Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle--away from the current--towards shore.
- If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim towards shore.
- If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arm and yelling for help.
If you see someone in trouble, don't become a victim too:
- Get help from a lifeguard.
- If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1.
- Throw the rip current victim something that floats, such as a lifejacket, a cooler, an inflatable ball.
- Yell instructions on how to escape.
- Remember, many people drown while trying to save someone else from a rip current.
Storm cleanup safety tips
- Survey the site for hazards such as loose limbs hanging overhead.
- If electrical wires are present, do not attempt to remove them. Contact your utility.
- Work only on the ground. Wear protective clothing, glasses, gloves and closed-toe shoes.
- Keep both hands on the chain saw.
- Cut at waist level or below.