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Child Safety

Spring 2014 Focus: Weather Safety

People have been trying to predict the weather for thousands of years. Weather forecasting has really improved over the last 150 years! Today's weather forecasts are more accurate because of supercomputers and the growing abilities of meteorologists, scientists that study the weather.
 
If dangerous weather conditions could develop in your area, a weather watch will be issued. You and your family should use a battery-powered or hand-cranked weather radio, TV, smartphone or computer to stay updated on the latest weather. (One reliable website is the National Weather Service's weather.gov.)
 
If dangerous weather conditions are already present in your area, a weather warning will be issued. In that case, you and your family should take steps immediately to stay safe.
 
Extreme types of weather to watch for include:
 
Thunderstorms
Thunderstorms are marked by thunder and lightning. They can also bring heavy rain, strong winds, and hail. (Have you ever heard of thunder snow? It's a late-winter or early-spring thunderstorm with heavy snowfall instead of rain.)
 
If a severe thunderstorm is issued for your area:
  • Keep updated on the weather using a weather radio, TV, smartphone or computer. Have a battery-powered or hand-cranked weather radio on hand in case your power goes out. (Remember, one reliable website is the National Weather Service's weather.gov.)
  • Listen for thunder. Lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from a thunderstorm, even if the weather is clear where you are. If you can hear thunder, you are in danger from lightning! Go to a building that has plumbing and wiring - avoid park shelters, dugouts, gazebos, sheds, etc.
  • If you are caught outdoors during a thunderstorm with no safe shelter nearby, stay away from water, open areas, and tall and/or metal objects like trees, power lines, flagpoles and fishing rods. If you feel a tingling, hear a humming or buzzing sound, or if your hair stands on end, immediately squat down on the balls of your feet, with your heels together. Put your head between your knees, with your hands on your knees (not on the ground). Do not lie flat!
  • The electrical charges in lightning can travel through and jump from your home's wiring and plumbing, causing electrical shock. If you're indoors, stay away from corded electrical or electronic appliances/devices, including TVs and landline phones with cords. Don't take a bath or shower, wash your hands or dishes, run water, use the restroom, etc., if a thunderstorm is in progress nearby.
  • Hardtop cars are a safe shelter during a thunderstorm because the metal body protects people inside. If you're caught in a vehicle when a thunderstorm hits, roll up the windows and don't touch any metal inside the car.​
Tornadoes
Tornadoes are swirling, funnel-shaped windstorms that form over land, usually from strong thunderstorms.
Tornadoes may form when strong thunderstorms are in the area, along with heavy rain, frequent lightning, strong wind gusts, and giant hail (bigger than golf balls). The greatest danger in a tornado is from flying objects.
If a tornado warning is issued in your community:
  • Keep updated on the weather using a weather radio, TV, smartphone or computer. Have a battery-powered or hand-cranked weather radio on hand in case your power goes out. (One reliable website is the National Weather Service's weather.gov.)
  • Inside, a "safe room" or storm shelter is the best place to be. If you're in a building that doesn't have either, go quickly to the lowest level. Stay away from windows and find an inside wall or stairwell. Crouch under a sturdy piece of furniture, like a heavy desk or table, if one is nearby, and/or cover your body with a blanket, couch cushions, etc. This protects you from flying objects.
  • Mobile homes - even those anchored down - and vehicles are no match for a tornado. If you are in a mobile home or a vehicle, leave immediately, go quickly to a building with a basement or lie flat in a ditch or ravine. Cover your head and neck with your hands.
  • If you're outside, find shelter in a building with a basement, if possible, or lie flat in a ditch or ravine. Avoid areas with trees, buildings and large, heavy objects like cars, equipment, etc. Cover your head and neck with your hands.

Hurricanes

​Hurricanes are swirling, ocean-based storms with winds from 70-150 miles per hour. Hurricanes usually lose power when they reach land, but because the earth's soil is becoming warmer from climate change, scientists have found some hurricanes - called "brown ocean" hurricanes - actually become stronger once they reach land. If you and your family live in a hurricane-prone area (the coastal areas along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean), you should stay prepared during the hurricane season (June 1 to Nov. 30). Preparations include assembling an emergency disaster kit, being ready to leave the area if a hurricane warning is issued and knowing hurricane safety procedures. If a hurricane forms in your area, keep updated on the weather using a weather radio, TV, smartphone or computer. Have a battery-powered or hand-cranked weather radio on hand in case the power goes out. (One reliable website is the National Weather Service's weather.gov.)
 

Blizzards

Blizzards are dangerous snowstorms with strong winds, heavy snow, bitterly cold temperatures and little visibility. During and after a blizzard, your power may be affected and traveling may be very difficult or impossible. If you live in a blizzard-prone area, you and your family should keep supplies at home and in your cars to help you keep warm, healthy and safe if a blizzard should hit. The items you may need include flashlights, a battery-operated or hand-cranked radio, blankets/sleeping bags and nonperishable foods.
 
If a blizzard warning is issued for your area:
  • Keep updated on the weather using a weather radio, TV, smartphone or computer. Have a battery-powered or hand-cranked weather radio on hand in case your power goes out. (One reliable website is the National Weather Service's weather.gov.)
  • If you're already at home, stay there. If your power goes off, dress in layers (shirt, sweatshirt/sweater, coat) and exercise to stay warm. Cover up with blankets if you need to. Keep eating and drinking. This keeps you healthy and provides your body with fuel so you stay warm and active.
  • If you have to go outside for any reason, dress in layers and cover your skin, including your face, as much as possible.
  • If you're caught outside in a blizzard, find safe, dry shelter immediately. If you're traveling, don't leave your car to go for help. Try to keep moving so you stay warm.

Earthquakes

Earthquakes are sudden movements of the earth's outer crust. Unfortunately, earthquakes can't be predicted reliably, so if you and your family live in an earthquake-prone area, you should stay prepared by assembling an emergency disaster kit. You should also know earthquake safety procedures, which include:
  1. Drop to the ground or floor.
  2. Crawl under a sturdy desk or table.
  3. Hold onto the furniture until the shaking completely stops.
  4. If there's no desk or table nearby, drop to the ground and crawl quickly to an inside corner of the room. Steer clear of objects that could fall on you, like bookshelves, lamps, TVs and appliances. Cover your head and neck with your hands.
  5. If you're outside, drop to the ground. If possible, crawl quickly, away from buildings, windows and other falling hazards, then cover your head and neck with your hands.
  6. Don't get up until the shaking completely stops. Be prepared for aftershocks, smaller earthquakes that follow a larger quake.

 

Parent Corner

 
Activity: Weather Folklore - True or False?
 
Are traditional weather sayings really true? Your child can do an experiment to find out! Have them watch for conditions mentioned below, then observe the weather. Did the predictions turn out to be true?
  • Red sky at night, sailor's delight; red sky in morning, sailors take warning.
  • If autumn leaves fall early, winter will be mild. If leaves fall later, it will be a hard winter.
  • If November is a warm month, the winter will be cold.
  • If there's a halo around the moon, it will rain or snow soon.
  • If birds migrate early, or squirrel tails are very bushy, we'll have a harsh winter.
Coloring Page: Dress for the Weather
  1. Make a copy of the Dress for the Weather coloring page.
  2. Have your child color the articles of clothing, then cut out the boy and girl and the clothes. (Your child may need help with cutting.)
  3. Describe different kinds of weather to your child and have him/her dress the children in the appropriate clothing.
 
Activity Page: Weather Word Search
  1. Make a copy of the Weather Word Search.
  2. Read over the list of weather words with your child.
  3. Invite your child to find the words within the word search. Offer assistance if needed.
 
  1. Make a copy of the Weather Crossword Puzzle.
  2. Read over the clues with your child.
  3. Invite your child to complete the puzzle. Offer assistance if needed.

Additional Resources

Would your child like to learn more about weather? Check out these books from your local library!
 
Annett, Leanne. Extreme Weather! Weather for Kids Book on Storms: Hurricanes, Tornados, Blizzards, Thunderstorms & Much More. Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 2013.
Bourgeois, Paulette. Franklin and the Thunderstorm. Kids Can Press, 2011.
Branley, Franklyn M. Earthquakes. HarperCollins, 2005.
Branley, Franklyn M. Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll. HarperCollins, 1999.
Branley, Franklyn M. Tornado Alert. HarperCollins, 1990.
Cousins, Lucy. Maisy's Wonderful Weather Book. Candlewick, 2011.
Gibbons, Gail. Hurricanes! Holiday House, 2010.
Gibbons, Gail. Tornadoes! Holiday House, 2010.
Gibbons, Gail. Weather Words and What They Mean. Holiday House, 1992.
Rabe, Tish. Oh Say Can You Say What's the Weather Today? All About Weather. Random House Books, 2004.
 
 

Did you know ...?

An important way Modern Woodmen gives back to communities where our members live is by offering free youth educational programs to schools and other youth-related organizations. The lineup of programs includes our Safety and Life Skills Program from which this Weather Safety page is taken.

If you - or your child's teacher - would like to learn more, go to Youth Programs under the Member Benefits tab of this website and search under Youth Educational Programs. Since these programs are donated by our local representatives, your next step is to use the Find An Agent feature on this website to locate a representative near you.

 
 

Get More Information

To learn more about Modern Woodmen youth programs, contact your local Modern Woodmen representative, call our home office at (800) 322-9805 or
 Send an email.

http://www.modern-woodmen.org/childsafety/Pages/default.aspx