By Rusty Bradshaw
In addition to property damage, conditions of Arizona’s monsoon season can present dangers to physical safety.
There are a number of things residents can do to improve their safety. The most important factor is to be informed about current weather conditions. That will provide time for residents to take precautions.
An app is available on most cell phones that provides weather alerts. While they can be annoying, especially with the shrill tone and being interrupted during use, the alerts can make storm life easier.
Other outlets of weather information include television or Internet forecasts, radio weather reports, lightning and weather notification service subscription and scanning the skies.
The monsoon safety website www.monsoonsafety.org encourages families to have disaster supply kits in the event of severe weather. The kit should contain food, water and sturdy clothing to sustain a family for up to three days since electric power, gas and water services may be interrupted. Specific supplies would include three gallons of water in clean, closed containers for each person and pet; a first aid kit; a stock of food that requires no cooking or refrigeration; portable and working battery-operated radio, flashlights and extra batteries; necessary medications; and a back-up power source for life support or other medical equipment that requires electricity to function.
Flash flooding is also a concern during a monsoon storm. In most cases, law enforcement and other agencies alert the community to road closures during storms. Law enforcement and fire departments pre-deploy response teams into areas that are known to become inaccessible during heavy rain and runoff conditions. Driving around barricades is illegal and dangerous.
During thunderstorms, residents are encouraged to go indoors. There is no place outdoors that is safe from a lightning strike. Remaining indoors for 30 minutes after seeing the last lightning and hearing the last thunder will eliminate the risk at the end of storms.
If someone is struck by lightning, call 911 immediately.
Never touch wiring during a thunderstorm. Corded phones are dangerous during thunderstorms. Cell phone and cordless phones are safe. Plumbing can conduct electricity from lightning strikes from outside.
Swirling dust can also be a danger. Be prepared for blowing dust and reduced visibilities any time thunderstorms are nearby. Drivers caught in a dust storm are urged to pull off the road as far as possible. Turn off your headlights and taillights, put the vehicle in “park” and/or engage the parking brake, and take your foot off the brake so brake lights are not illuminated.