Are You Prepared? 8 Tips to Keep Safe in Severe Weather Conditions

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

As we kick-off the New Year, many begin making a variety of resolutions embarking on a fresh start. From quitting bad habits to vowing to be healthier, some resolutions fade quickly while others last well into the year. One thing many fail to think about is making a resolution for a safer new year. Whether adopting a new safety practice or being more consistent acting on current practices, safety should be a priority 365 days a year!

We have little to no time to prepare for inclement weather. Tornadoes, floods, blizzards, hail, ice, rain, and other storms can happen in the blink of eye. Few families have a plan in place in the event severe weather strikes while at home, on the farm, or while traveling by vehicle. Here are a few tips to help prepare you and keep you safe in the event of a weather emergency:

  • As a family project, create an emergency plan as to what you would do if severe weather hits. In many cases you have very little time to think, so having a plan in place can definitely be a life saver!
  • Severe storms can knock out power lines, so having a battery or crank-powered radio can be helpful to stay current on weather conditions. Have a flashlight, extra batteries, a supply of long-term food, and blankets stored together and easily accessible.
  • Most cellular phones have options to receive free alerts if bad weather is expected quickly, so be sure to look into signing-up to receive these messages.
  • Evaluate safety on your home or farm on a day-to-day basis to prevent damage due to a storm. Assure things like dead trees and tree branches are cut down. Don’t put potential hazards on the back burner to take care of another day, but address immediately. If time permits, secure any items around the home or farm that can be thrown around by the wind. Items such as lawn furniture and garbage cans can cause damage to property, as well as cause injury to others.
  • Although you and your family’s safety is most important, don’t forget about animals and livestock. Be sure to find them shelter in a barn, garage, or your home and make sure they have a supply of food and water.
  • Avoid standing near fireplaces, windows, and doors. For tornados and high wind storms, seek shelter in a basement or secure area.
  • Purchase or put together an emergency preparedness kit for your vehicle. From food, water, and other supplies, most kits provide a sufficient quantity lasting up to 72 hours.
  • Look into emergency response teams available in your community. Support their efforts by either becoming trained & volunteering or by making a donation of goods or money.

These safety tips are examples of what children & families learn when they attend a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, which are held each year throughout North America. In 2014, more than 100,000 children & adults participated in a Safety Day within their local community. Learn more at