Depending on the kind of emergency, what you need to do to stay safe outdoors varies.

During a thunderstorm, or if you see lightning:

  • Try to get to a building or car.
  • If no structure is nearby, go to an open space.
  • Squat low to the ground, making yourself as small as possible. Do not lie flat on the ground.
  • Be aware of the potential for flooding.
  • Avoid tall structures, such as towers, telephone poles, fences and power lines.
  • Stay away from rivers, lakes or other bodies of water.

During a tornado:

  • Try to find shelter immediately in the nearest substantial building.
  • If no buildings are close, lie down flat in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.
  • If you see rising waters or flood waters:
  • Move quickly to higher ground.
  • Do not walk through flooded areas. It is difficult to gauge the water’s depth. The water could have a moving current that you can’t see, or the water might be hiding dangerous debris or animals.
  • Avoid loose or dangling power lines. Immediately report them to the power company, police or fire department.

During winter weather:

  • Wear loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing in several layers (the trapped air between the layers insulates).
  • Wear a hat (half of body heat is lost through the top of the head).
  • Cover the mouth with scarves to protect lungs from cold air.
  • Mittens, snug at the wrists, are better than gloves. Gloves allow your fingers to cool much faster than mittens do.
  • Try to stay dry.
  • Do not stay outside for extended periods.
  • Cold weather puts a strain on your heart, even without exercise. Be careful when shoveling snow, pushing a car or performing other strenuous tasks. Regardless of your age or physical condition, avoid overexertion in winter weather.

During sustained high temperatures:

  • Avoid strenuous activities. Try to perform strenuous activity only during the coolest part of the day, usually between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.
  • Take frequent breaks when working outdoors.
  • Drink plenty of water regularly and often, even if you are not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Use sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat if you must be out in the sun.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine. Electric fans might not cool the air, but they can help sweat evaporate, which cools your body.