Brant County-Strong Winds, Tornadoes and Extreme Heat – Are You Prepared?

A thin cone tornado spins over the open landscape of the Great Plains.

For Immediate Release:  July 11, 2019

County of Brant, ON – Preparation ahead of severe weather and risks associated with warmer temperatures should start as soon as possible. The County of Brant would like to remind residents to be prepared.

Tornadoes or wind storms typically appear after a thunderstorm, heavy rainfall or hail in a sky that is green, yellow or black. Ontario averages about 12 tornadoes a year, usually between May and September.

“A tornado or wind storm can really strike anywhere when the conditions are right” said Kent Pottruff, Emergency Management Program Manager for the County of Brant and City of Brantford. “Knowing what to do and being prepared can make all the difference for you and your family’s safety.”

Always be aware of weather conditions and warnings and seek shelter immediately if a warning has been issued or you believe one could occur. Safety starts with you.

If you’re indoors:

  • The safest place to be is an underground shelter, basement or safe room
  • If you don’t have a basement, go to the centre of an interior room on the lowest level away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls – put as many walls as possible between you and the outside
  • Get under a sturdy piece of furniture. Use your arms to protect your head and neck
  • Don’t open windows

 

If you’re outdoors:

  • Don’t wait until you see the tornado to get inside
  • If you can’t get inside, lie flat in a ditch and cover your head with your hands
  • Don’t go under an overpass or bridge – you’re safer in a low, flat area

 

Preparations can start now. Have a safe room in your home where everyone gathers during a tornado. Conduct regular tornado drills to make sure everyone knows where to go if a tornado is coming and remember to remove dead and rotting trees and branches from your property that could fall and cause injury or damage.

 

Be sure to have an emergency kit. Everyone should keep a survival kit of crucial supplies in case an emergency happens and utilities are out, roads are closed or you can’t leave your home. Prepare to take care of yourself and your family for up to three days. Make sure everyone in your family knows where your emergency kit items are stored. Visit www.brant.ca/emergencykit

 

Tornadoes usually develop out of storms caused by extreme heat, and this extreme heat brings its own set of issues for public safety.

Heat, thermometer shows the temperature is hot in the sky, Summer

Brant County Health Unit calls an Extreme Heat Alert when one of two weather conditions is expected for the County of Brant area:

  • Humidex is expected to reach 40ºC or higher
  • Humidex is expected to reach 36ºC or higher with a Smog Alert

 

Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat illness and is considered a medical emergency. “The hallmark symptom of heat stroke is a core body temperature above 104 degrees Fahrenheit,” said Pottruff. “But fainting may be the first sign.”

Other symptoms of heat stroke may include dizziness, vomiting, rapid heartbeat and extreme thirst.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call 911 immediately if you are caring for someone who has a high body temperature and is unconscious, confused or has stopped sweating.

If you or someone you know has any of these symptoms, go to a cool place, sit or lie down,  rehydrate and wash your face with cool water. Some of these symptoms are also the signs of a heart attack or stroke. If you are experiencing these symptoms and are in doubt about the cause, call 911 for medical assistance.

 

To prevent a heat-related illness, find a cool place, drink water every 15 to 20 minutes and protect your skin from sun exposure. To help keep your home cool, cover windows that receive sun with drapes, shades or awnings. Include extra water, sunscreen and sunglasses (with full UVA and UVB protection) in your emergency survival kit.

 

The County of Brant also provides cooling stations. If an “Extreme Heat Alert” is in effect, check www.brant.ca/cooling, social media platforms (@BrantCommunity) and local media for cooling locations.

Prepare for an emergency today.  Visit www.brant.ca/emergencyplanning to find out how you can prepare for you and your family.

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