Red Cross offers safety tips ahead of severe weather, tornado threat

(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 1:14 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT / Edited News Release) -The American Red Cross of Missouri and Arkansas is offering safety tips ahead of the upcoming severe weather expected Thursday and Friday across both states.

According to the National Weather Service, the state of Missouri and Arkansas may experience severe thunderstorms, with damaging winds and hail and a possibility of tornadoes starting Thursday afternoon with storms continuing into Friday night.

“We urge everyone to take steps now ahead of the storm to identify a safe place to go should weather turn severe,” said Chris Harmon, Regional Disaster Officer, American Red Cross of Missouri and Arkansas. “Also, be prepared for the possibility of power outages and have an emergency kit ready.”

In anticipation of damaging storms, Red Cross disaster teams work closely with local emergency management officials and partners throughout the year to prepare for potential local community needs that may result and are monitoring these storms closely.

American Red Cross of Missouri and Arkansas offers the following tips to stay safe:

· Assemble an emergency preparedness kit to ensure you and your family have enough bottled water, non-perishable food and other items to stay safe at home for a few days without power if needed:

· Watch for storm signs such as darkening skies, lightning flashes and increasing wind. If thunder roars, go indoors. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger of lightning.

· Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are likely to occur. Many people struck by lightning aren’t in the area where it’s raining.

· If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, take shelter in a substantial building or vehicle with the windows closed. Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds.

· Avoid using electrical equipment and telephones. Use battery-powered or hand-crank radios instead.

· Keep away from windows.

· Don’t take a bath or use plumbing.

· If you are driving, try to safely exit the road and park. Stay in your vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside of the vehicle.

· If you’re outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground, water, tall or isolated trees and metal objects, such as fences and bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are NOT safe places to be.

If someone has been struck by lightning, call 9-1-1. 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, begin CPR. It’s safe to touch people who have been struck by lightning, as they don’t retain an electrical charge.


· A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible.

· A tornado WARNING means a tornado is already occurring or will occur soon. GO TO YOUR SAFE PLACE IMMEDIATELY.


· Identify a safe place in your home where household members and pets will gather during a tornado: a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.

· In a high-rise building, pick a hallway in the center of the building. You may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor.

· In a mobile home, choose a safe place in a nearby sturdy building. If your mobile home park has a designated shelter, make it your safe place. No mobile home, however it is configured, is safe in a tornado.


· Turn around, don’t drown! Stay off the roads. If you must drive and you encounter a flooded roadway, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising around you, get out of the car quickly, move to higher ground and stay there. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.

· Tune into your local radio, NOAA radio or news channels for the latest updates.

· If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, prepare to evacuate quickly if necessary. Follow evacuation orders and don’t return until officials say it is safe.

· Stay away from floodwaters. Beware of snakes, insects and other animals that may be in or around floodwaters and your home. Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwaters. If power lines are down, don’t step in puddles or standing water.


Individuals are encouraged to download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of thunderstorms, flooding and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The app also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free emergency app is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to

(Source: American Red Cross)