• Discuss emergency procedures and hold practice drills with your family
  • Post and memorize emergency telephone numbers (including poison control)
  • Assemble and store a survival kit
  • Learn first aid
  • Establish a location where the family should reunite if seperated
  • Choose a communication contact for extended family
  • Learn the emergency plans of the family's schools, day-care centers, clubs and workplaces
  • Tune to daily weather forecasts, radio broadcasts.  They will announce a WATCH if an emergency situation is expected, and a WARNING if it is imminent or in progress
  • Determine an evacuation route and alternative routes
  • Know where main utility switches are located and learn how to turn them off if lines rupture.


Weather Alert Meanings

  • Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado Watch means that conditions are such that a severe thunderstorm or tornado may develop.  During the "watch" period is the ideal time to take shelter.  Keep your radio or television tuned to a local station for information or advice from government officials. 
  • Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado Warnings means a thunderstrom or tornado has been sighted.  You should already be sheltered or take shelter immediately when a Tornado Warning is issued.  The Parkston Fire Department has weather spotters dispatched when severe weather is in the area.  Sirens will sound is a tornado has been spotted.

Tornado Safety: Things to remember when a tornado is eminents

  • If you are at home, go to a corner of your basement, under the stairs, or take cover under a sturdy workbench or table. 
  • If your home has no basement, take cover in the center part of the house, on the lowest floor, in a small room such as a closet or bathroom, or under sturdy furniture.  Stay away from windows to avoid flying debris. 
  • If you live in a manufactured home, and underground shelter is not available within a few hundred feet, you should make arrangements to temporarily relocate to a pre-selected area of greater safety during a thunderstorm "warning" or tornado "watch".  Friends or relatives with home basements should be considered.  Don't wait until a tornado "warning" is in effect to relocate.  Traffic problems and the storm itself may delay your relocation, thus exposing you to serious danger.  Caution: tied down manufactured homes do not provide adequate shelter protection during high winds. 
  • If you are at work in a building, go to an interior hallway on the lowest floor, or to the designated shelter area.  Stay away from windows. 
  • If you are outside in open country or in a car, lie flat in the nearest depression, such as a ditch, culvert, excavation or ravine.

 Lightning Safety Rules:

  • When you are home, aviod using the telephone except for emergencies.  Unplug those appliances (including air conditioner) not necessary for obtaining weather information.  Do not take a bath or shower.  Stay away from windows.
  • If you are outside, move to a large, sutrdy, building.  If that option is unavailable, get inside an automobile and keep the windows up and avoid touching any metal.
  • Do not take shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees, or in convertible automobiles.  Avoid farm machinery and equipment.  Stay away fromt all objects, wire fences, clotheslines, telephone poles power lines open water, or any other conductor which can transmit the electricity to you.
  • If caught outside without shelter, find a low spot immune to flooding and away from trees, fences, and poles.  Never lie flat on the ground.  Make yourself the smallest possible target by squatting low to the ground ont he balls of your feet and by placing your head between your knees with your hands clasped behind your head.   In the woods, take shelter udner shorter trees.  If you are boating, swimming, bicycling, riding a motorcycle, golf cart, or scooter, find shelter immediately.


Winter Storm General Information

Weather Alert Meanings

  • Winter Storm Watch means that the hazardous winter weather conditions (such as snowfall greater than 6 inches in 24 hours, winds gusting over 35 mph, or visibilities less than 1/4 mile) are expected in the next 12 to 36 hours.
  • Winter Storm Werning means that hazardous winter weather conditions (snowfall greater than 6 inches in 24 hours, winds gusting over 35 mph, or visibilites less than 1/4 mile) are occurring or are expected within the next 12 hours.

Prepare for Home Confinement

  • Winter weather can isolate, or confine you in your home.  If you live in rural area, make sure you could survive at home for a week or two in case a storm isolates you and makes it impossible for you to leave.
  • Keep an adequate supply of heating fuel on hand and use it sparinly.  If necessary, conserve fuel by keeping the house cooler than usual, or by closing off some rooms temporarily.
  • Have some type of alternative, emergency heating equipment on hand and fuel so that you could keep at least one room of your house warm enough for survival.  This could be a camp stove with fuel, or a supply of wood or coal if you have a fireplace.
    • Never use a charcoal grill as a supplemental heat source.  Burning charcoal gives off deadly carbon monoxide fumes.  Even a faulty furnace can produce odorless and tasteless carbon monoxide.  Proper ventilation is essential.
    • Caution should be used if a range or oven is utilized as a supplementary heating source.  It is a safety hazard that can cause burns, but it can also be a source of toxic fumes.
    • If you use an electric heater, be sure not to overload the circuit.  Only use extension cords which have the necessary rating to carry the amperage load.
    • Avoid using an electric space heater in bathrooms, or other areas where they may come in contact with water.
  • Plug in a carbon monoxide detector with battery backup.
  • Stock an emergency supply of non-perishable food and water.  Some of this food should be of the type that does not require refridgeration or cooking.
  • Stock first aid supplies.
  • Make sure you have battery-powered radio and extra batteries on hand, so that if your electric power is cut off you can still hear weather forecasts, information and advice broadcast by authorities.  Flashlights would be needed also.
  • Keep on hand simple tools and equipment needed to fight a fire, a fire extinguisher(s) and batter-powered smoke detectors on every level of your home.  Be certain that all family members know how to take precaustions that would prevent a fire.  During a winter storm, help from the fire department may not be immediately available.
  • Never try to thaw frozen water pipes with a blow torch or other open flame (the pipe could conduct the heat and ignite the wall structure inside the wall space).  Use hot water or a UL labeled device such as a hand-held dryer for thawing.

Prepare for Winter Travel: If you must travel, take the following precautions:

  • Make sure your car is in good condition, properly serviced, and equipped with chains or snow tires.
  • Take another person with you if possible
  • Maintain a full tank of gas
  • Have emergency "Winter Storm Survival Kit" in the car which includes:
    • Container of sand
    • Shovel
    • Windshield scraper
    • Tow chain or rope
    • Flashlight
    • High energy foods
    • Blankets or sleeping bags
    • Heavy gloves or mittens, extra woolen socks, and winter headgear
    • Water container
    • Compass
    • Small can and water-proof matches to melt snow for drinking water (do not eat snow, it will lower your body temperature.  Melt it first.)
    • Travel by daylight and use major highways if you can.  Keep the car radio turned on for weather information and advice.
    • If your car breaks down during a storm, or if you become stalled or lost, don't panic.  Don't leave the vehicle.  Your car provides more safety than attempting to walk during storms and periods of extreme cold.  If you are on a well-traveled road, show a trouble signal.  Set your directional lights to flashing, raise the hood of your car, or hand a cloth from the radio aerial or a car window.  Then stay in your car and wait for help to arrive.  Run the engine about ten minutes each hour to stay warm, and open the windows for a little fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.  Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked.