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Safest body position when caught in severe weather event. Photo credit: NCOAAWe've had some pretty severe weather and storms already this year. Folks from North Buncombe County to South Henderson County keep getting pounded, and there's no telling what's in store for us in the western part of North Carolina. Our mountain weather has always been unpredictable. Here are some safety tips for dealing with different types of severe weather events in western North Carolina...well, anyone for that matter:

FLOODING

If your house is in low-lying area or a flood zone (we've got plenty of them here), then be prepared to move to higher ground. Seek shelter. Do not try to walk through flash floods, and for goodness sakes, avoid driving through flooded areas. If caught there, watch for road washouts and avoid dips and underpasses. We hear of tragedies that could have been avoided every year from the floods we experience in Asheville, Hendersonville and the rest of our NC counties.

LIGHTNING

Close your windows and doors and stay away from windows, doors and fireplaces. Don't go outside unless it is absolutely necessary. Before a storm hits, unplug your appliances and electronic devices including radios, televisions and computers, and do not touch electrical items or telephones during the storm.

Do not take a bath (both water and metal are electrical conductors).
Get inside a vehicle or building if possible. Avoid water and objects that conduct electricity (ie. golf clubs, umbrellas, metal fences). Do not stay in open spaces or under tall objects, like trees, poles, etc. If you can't get to shelter immediately, the best thing you can do is crouch down with your feet close together and head tucked under. If you're with a group of people, spread out, and stay several feet apart from one another.

If you are in a vehicle, stay inside and make sure all the windows are closed. Avoid touching any metal parts of vehicle. Do not drive, wait. But don't park under trees or other tall objects that may fall over in storm. Be wary of downed power lines that may be touching your car. You should be safe in the car but may receive a shock if you step outside.

Remember, lightning victims can be revived with CPR even if there is no pulse!

WIND and TORNADO
 
Stay inside your house with doors and windows shut. Stay away from windows, doors, and exterior walls. Go to a small, interior room or stairwell on the lowest floor of the building (bathrooms are often your best choice). If possible crouch under heavy furniture. Protect your head with cushions or a mattress. Seek shelter in a building (not a car or caravan) immediately. If no shelter is available, lie flat in a low dry spot, such as a ravine, ditch, or under a low bridge. Keep alert for flash floods. Protect your head. As a last resort, hang on tightly to the base of a shrub or small tree. Do not stay in a vehicle or caravan, and do not try to outrun a tornado by driving, especially in populated areas.

HAIL

Stay away from windows and glass doors. Be alert for signs of high winds or tornadoes (especially if hail is large) and follow tornado precautions if necessary. Seek cover, face away from wind and protect your head. Keep head and face away from windows.

We want you to be careful and be safe whatever the season, and as always, if we can help you with your homeowners insurance, casualty insurance, RV or motorcycle insurance, we'd be happy to do so.
~ Sean Brown

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