One of the most important jobs we have in the ESDA office is to help residents of Montgomery County prepare for and react to severe weather. We work with all law enforcement agencies and ambulance and hospital entities to ensure that when severe weather strikes we will be as prepared as we can be.

We are also in close touch with Montgomery County 9-1-1 whenever storm clouds gather.

To help you prepare for severe weather we are providing the following information. There are many good websites that provide additonal information and those are listed at the bottom of this page.

We are always available to speak to school classes or groups in the county about what we can do to prepare for severe weather. Call us anytime, 532-9560.

Are you ready for a thunderstorm?

Here's what you can do to prepare yourself and your family.

Before lightning strikes . . .

Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of light, or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of thunder.

If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.

Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for the latest weather forecasts.

When a storm approaches . . .

Find shelter in a building or car. Keep car windows closed and avoid convertibles.

Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances.(Leaving electric lights on, however, does not increase the chances of your home being struck by lightning.)

Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.

Turn off the air conditioner. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressor, resulting in a costly repair job!

Thunderstorm . . .

Draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blown by the wind, the shades will prevent glass from shattering into your home.

If caught outside . . .

If you are in the woods, take shelter under the shorter trees.

If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately!

Protecting yourself outside . . .

Go to a low-lying, open place away from trees, poles, or metal objects. Make sure the place you pick is not subject to flooding.

Be a very small target! Squat low to the ground. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible.

Do not lie flat on the ground-this will make you a larger target!

After the storm passes . . .

Stay away from storm-damaged areas.

Listen to the radio for information and instructions.

If someone is struck by lightning . . .

People struck by lightning carryno electrical charge and can behandled safely.

Call for help. Get someone to dial 9-1-1 or your local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) number.

The injured person has received an electrical shock and may be burned, both where they were struck and where the electricity left their body. Check for burns in both places. Being struck by lightning can also cause nervous system damage, broken bones, and loss of hearing or eyesight.

Give first aid. If breathing has stopped, begin rescue breathing. If the heart has stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR.If the person has a pulse and is breathing, look and care for other possible injuries. Learn first aid and CPR by taking a Red Cross first aid and CPR course. Call your local Red Cross chapter for class schedules and fees.

Do you know what these weather terms mean?

Here are a few commonly used weather terms.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch -- means severe thunderstorms are possible in your area.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning -- means a severe thunderstorm is imminent or has been indicated by Doppler radar or reported by storm spotters.

Tornado Watch -- means tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms and be prepared to seek shelter.

Tornado Warning -- means a tornado is imminent or has been indicated by Doppler radar or reported by storm spotters. Move to your pre-designated place of safety immediately.

Flash Flood or Flood Watch -- means flash flooding or flooding is possible in your area.

Flash Flood or Flood Warning -- means flash flooding or flooding is occurring or is imminent. Take necessary precautions immediately!

Winter Storm Watch -- means hazardous winter weather conditions, such as heavy snow and/or ice are possible in your area.

Winter Storm Warning -- means hazardous winter weather conditions are forecast to occur within 12 hours or are about to begin in your area. Stay indoors!