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Ready for the storm: What to do before and after

KAGS has everything you need to know to keep your family safe and weather-ready.

BRYAN, Texas —

When it comes to severe weather, it’s always best to be over-prepared. Here is a cumulative list of everything you need to know in case of severe weather here in the Brazos Valley.

Emergency Kit:

Put together an emergency kit you can easily use for severe weather. It only takes a few minutes and you may have many of these items around your house already. Take the time to prepare your kit because you may have to use it more than one day.

  • Non-perishable foods
  • Water
  • Batteries
  • Flashlight
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Medicine
  • Toiletries
  • Battery operated cell phone charger

This is just a short list of important items to keep in your kit. You can find a more extensive and detailed list of items to keep in your kit HERE.

Know the signs of severe weather

Tornadoes have occurred without a warning, and it’s very important to look up at the sky and stay aware of the possible signs of a formation. The problem with Friday's storms is they are happening at night and will be difficult to see.

Look for:

  • Clouds rotating
  • Rotating dust or debris on the ground
  • Heavy precipitation followed by silence, and then heavy wind
  • A lowering cloud base, illuminated by lighting, with possible blue-green-white light flashes (these could be power lines)

Where to take shelter:

Mobile Home

Get out QUICKLY and find a nearby shelter or sturdy building. Even tied-down mobile homes are NOT safe.

Car or Truck

There is NO safe option when facing a tornado in a vehicle, just less dangerous. If the tornado is visible while driving, try to move out of its path by driving at right angles to the tornado. If you’re caught in extreme winds or debris, park your car out of traffic lanes, put on your seat belt, and put your head down below the windows while covering yourself with coats, blankets, and any sort of cushion. AVOID seeking shelter under bridges or under-passes. 

House, Dorm, or Apartment

Avoid windows and go to a small center room on the lowest floor (closet, bathroom, hallway). Crouch as low as possible, facing down, with your hands protecting your head. Try to have some sort of thick padding on top of you to protect you from debris.

Office Building

Go to a windowless area in the center of the building on the lowest possible floor. Interior stairwells are best, then crouch down and cover your head.

Shopping Mall, Large Store, Movie Theater

Move to an interior bathroom, hallway, or storage room away from windows. Crouch face down and protect your head with your arms.

You can find more information on the signs of a tornado and how to take shelter HERE.

What should I do right now?

1. Make a plan. Get your family and loved ones involved. If you are working today, talk with your co-workers and find out where you go in the event severe weather hits the area.

2. Prepare your emergency kit.

3. Charge your phone and other electronic devices you can use to communicate.

4. Put away any loose items around your home like patio furniture and yard tools.

5. Make sure you check your insurance policies. If these are not up to date, storm recovery will be difficult.

6. Download the KAGS app to stay up to date. In the event the signal is lost due to severe weather, we will also be streaming our coverage on our Facebook page @KAGSTV.

What do I do after the storm?

It's an easy thing to say, but it's not an easy thing to do after you've been through severe weather: Don't panic. Before leaving your shelter, make sure you check on anyone that may be injured. Take a moment and look around before coming out. You should check your surroundings and make sure the scene is safe before coming out from your shelter area.

It's important you pay close attention to the debris field. Check for downed power lines, debris, flooding or possible structures that have the potential to collapse. Call for help and stay together.

If your home or vehicle has damage, call your insurance agent and document your damages. It's important that you watch out for potential fraud as you assess the damages in the coming days. Fraudsters love to prey upon people in crisis and offer quick fixes as long as you pay up front. Also beware of people who say they will take care of your deductible in order to get your money.

Emergency situations, such as tornados, hurricanes, heat waves, fires and blizzards, can have a significant impact on everyone's safety, but they can be especially upsetting and confusing for individuals with dementia. Make an emergency plan. See the Resources section at the bottom of this page. It has links to websites with helpful planning tips.

Helping those with dementia or Alzheimer's

For people who deal with dementia or Alzheimer's, preparing for emergencies like severe weather can be upsetting and confusing. Caregivers and family members often times are not sure how to help their loved one. Our friends at the Alzheimer's Association of Texas provided information to help people stay safe.

If your loved one is in a residential building or goes to an adult day center, learn the evacuation plans and meet with the person who is responsible for those plans. It's important to also ask about special needs such as walkers or wheelchairs, and if portable oxygen tanks are within an easy access.

Make sure medical records are accessible and consider enrolling your loved one in a wandering response service, such as MedicAlert. This can send an alert to you if your loved one becomes separated from a caregiver.

For a complete list of a special emergency kit and other great information, click here to be redirected to the Alzheimer's Association's website. They are also just a phone call away with around the clock support in more than 200 languages. Call 800-272-3900 if you need assistance.

Credit: ALZHEIMER'S ASSOCIATION

KAGS Cares

It's not about hype when it comes to severe weather. KAGS cares about the safety of its viewers and their loved ones. We want to make sure you are prepared in the event of severe weather so you can stay safe. With our growing community and college population, many people live in the Brazos Valley and they might not have experienced severe weather like tornadoes. Take care of one another and help others realize how dangerous these storms can be by helping them get prepared!

OTHER GREAT ARTICLES ON KAGSTV.COM ON EMERGENCIES: