Mulready: get ready for stormy season

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Glen Mulready

When it comes to extreme weather conditions, being prepared and knowing what to do in certain situations can save your life and the life of your family. That’s why I encourage Oklahomans to prepare for when – not if – the next disaster strikes.

Storms in Oklahoma often occur without warning, giving you not enough time to prepare. Here are three important steps you can take to stay safe during the storm:

1. Take shelter immediately – Go to the basement or storm shelter. Put your family emergency plan into action and check your “go-bag”. If you don’t have a basement or storm shelter, go to the lowest level room in the house (i.e. hallway or bathroom), away from windows and corners where objects tend to accumulate. Cover yourself with a heavy object, such as a mattress or sleeping bag, to protect yourself from shards of glass or flying debris. Stay in place until you are sure the storm has passed.

2. Stay informed about the weather – Stay informed with weather updates. Monitor the progress of the storm and listen to warnings from local authorities. Power outages are very possible in severe weather. Unplug devices that aren’t needed to get weather updates. Only use phones in an emergency. Have multiple sources to stay informed of changing conditions – TV and radio, emergency notifications via mobile devices, NOAA weather radio, and more. Make sure you have at least one source that doesn’t require electricity.

3. Plan to evacuate if necessary – Before leaving your home or driving anywhere, listen carefully to local weather experts and government officials who will coordinate evacuation plans. Go to higher ground if flash flooding or flooding is possible. DO NOT drive in high water. Six inches of water will wash away a person and two feet of water will wash away a car. Don’t forget the shoes. It is dangerous to walk barefoot outside because glass and other debris are everywhere during a storm.

To help Oklahomans prepare for storm season, I am posting a three-part column series to provide general preparedness tips before, during, and after disasters. Visit www.oid.ok.gov/news to view Part I: Before the Storm.

In the next episode, I will share detailed information on the insurance claims process and how to recover quickly after a disaster. Please stay tuned and visit www.oid.ok.gov/getready for more information on how to prepare.

If you have questions about other insurance issues, please contact the Oklahoma Department of Insurance at 1-800-522-0071 or visit our website at www.oid.ok.gov.

Glen Mulready is Oklahoma’s insurance commissioner.

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