Lexington was fortunate on Sunday, missing the most extreme parts of the storm system that barrelled through the bluegrass region. People in other parts of the area weren’t so lucky. Power lines were downed, siding was shredded by hail, and trees and debris blocked roads for hours. No serious injuries or deaths were reported from the storm.
However, it’s important to keep some preparedness information at the top of your list before the next storm rolls through.
OUTDOOR WARNING SIRENS
In most Kentucky communities, outdoor warning sirens are placed in parks, golf courses, and recreational areas. They’re designed to alert people outdoors of some sort of weather-related or other community emergency. Many just sound a wail, like a fire engine on an emergency run. Others may sound different wails or even sound chimes for certain conditions. If you hear a siren go off, it means to look for information about the threat. Use your phone, your computer, your television, or radio to find out what the threat is. If it’s a weather-related threat, use your NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio to access current weather information. OUTDOOR SIRENS ARE NOT DESIGNED OR INTENDED TO ALERT PEOPLE INDOORS OR OUTSIDE OF PARKS AND GOLF COURSES.
A nearby lightning strike or wind storm can cause a temporary power outage. Everyone should be prepared for this.
- Have at least two flashlights with extra batteries in places you can easily find in the dark.
- Keep your cell phone charged during severe weather. Invest in a power bank or backup battery for your phone. Make sure you have the right charging cables.
- Invest in a car charger for your phones and other mobile devices. Your can system can charge your phone several times, even if it’s not running.
- If you require assistive medical equipment that requires electrical power, make sure they have a back-up battery system. A small generator can keep medical equipment operating and charge larger batteries that power wheelchairs and patient hoists.
- Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Most appliances will keep food cold for several hours. Here’s a chart to tell what you can keep and what needs to be tossed.
- NEVER USE A GENERATOR INDOORS – NOT IN A GARAGE, EITHER. Generators need to be kept at least 20 feet from your home.
- If power lines are down on your property or street, call 9-1-1 and report them. Assume all downed power lines are LIVE and DANGEROUS until the utility workers tell you they are safe.
- Do not go outside without heavy shoes or work boots. Wear gardening or work gloves before you attempt any debris removal.
- Do not attempt large tree removal without professional assistance. Moving a tree off a roof or from inside a structure requires professional help. Make sure they are licensed and insured arborists.
- Make sure to use the correct protective gear when using chain saws. Sharpen or replace the chain saw blade regularly. Use the correct fuel mixture and be sure to check/fill the chain oil reservoir.
- If you’re using an axe, chain saw or hand saw to clear debris, make sure the limb that you’re cutting is free and not under pressure. Otherwise, the limb can snap back and injure you or another person nearby.