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Why Storms Are Dangerous

Sometimes when the weather gets really nasty, a storm can bring high winds, lightning, snow and ice.

If the storm is really bad, it might knock out the electricity to your home. No lights, no TV, the refrigerator quits running...it can be a little scary!

Most of the time, the power will come back on quickly. But when a storm damages lots of power lines, it might take the electric company several hours or even days to get everyone hooked back up.

Stay off the phone and computer

Did you know that electricity can travel through telephone and cable TV lines?

If lightning struck your house, a dangerous surge of electricity could zap through the electrical, phone and cable lines in your house. If you were talking on the phone or typing on the computer, you could get a nasty shock!

The best way to prevent dangerous power surges from lightning or when the electricity comes back on is to unplug all the electronics and big appliances during a storm.

If the lights go out

Many people use candles when the lights go out - but candles can be very dangerous if they're not used the right way. Many fires happen during storms because a candle tipped over. It's much safer to use battery-operated flashlights from your storm safety kit instead.

During winter storms, it might seem like a good idea to turn on the gas stove to keep warm. But this very dangerous because it can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

If the power is out for a long time, the grown-ups in your house will probably be worried about the food in your stove or refrigerator.

You can remind them that food will stay cold in the refrigerator for six hours; frozen food will be OK for almost two days, but only if you don't open the doors and let all the cold air out!

Some people might try to use a portable heater or generator when the power goes out. Only grown-ups should use heaters and generators. You can help stay safe by NEVER playing near a heater or generator, and reminding grown-ups to keep it away from curtains and furniture.


After the storm

When the storm is over, it might seem like all the dangers have passed. But there are hazards you need to watch out for when it stops raining or snowing.

Power lines that are lying on the ground are very dangerous. Even utility workers can't tell if a power line is energized just by looking at it.

If you see a damaged power line, stay away from it and keep others away too. Ask a grown-up to call the electric company right away. If the power line is on a road, a car or a house, call 911.

There might also be a lot of tree branches in your yard after a storm. If you see a grown-up using a ladder or chain saw to clean up, remind them to watch out for power lines. 

 

Fun stuff to print:

Do an Energy Safety Survey [PDF]

Alliant Energy Kids activity book [PDF]

 

Links for teachers and parents: