Monsoon Season Safety Tips in The Event of a Storm

Emma Hughes

Gila River Indian News


Monsoon season brings severe weather conditions including thunderstorms, flash floods, dust storms and extreme heat. Monsoon begins in June and typically lasts until September. The season can cause dangerous disruptions like flooding and interruptions to electric and utility service.


Plan ahead and monitor the weather conditions for the day and the week. There are many ways to get information from radio, television and even through applications on your mobile device.


During the recent monsoon storms, GRIC utilized social media and a text messaging service for subscribers to receive information on weather and power outages. 


Severe thunderstorms can bring winds that reach 100mph and cause structural damage. Flash floods can occur in a matter of minutes, leaving roadways severely flooded. Avoid driving and walking through any flooded areas. Six inches of rushing water can knock down a person and 12 inches is enough to move a vehicle. 


Dust storms are also hazardous and can reduce visibility in a matter of seconds. Avoid driving during a dust storm. If you get caught in a dust storm while driving, pull off the road as far as you can, set your parking brake and turn off your lights.


Stay away from downed power lines and report them if possible. Rapid winds and lightning strikes can hit power poles resulting in an electrical outage. If you happen to become trapped under a power line while on the road, remain in your vehicle until help arrives. 


During a storm, it’s important to take precautions and be prepared. Protect your electronics and appliances by using a power surge protector to avoid damage to your devices in case of a power outage. If you are able, unplug sensitive electronic equipment before a storm arrives. 


Have an emergency supply kit containing essential items and at least three days’ supply of food and water for each person and pet. Water and food should be stored in a cool dry place. Try to have at least one gallon of water per person per day. Keep yourself and pets hydrated with plenty of water and a shady place to keep cool. 


The emergency kit should include a first-aid kit, prescription medication if needed, and non-perishable foods with a long life, such as peanut butter, crackers, canned meat and vegetables, trail mix, and dried fruit. Flashlights and radio along with extra batteries and back-up power banks for mobile devices should also be in your kit. 


In the event of a power outage, keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed to help keep food cold for at least 4 hours. If the outage lasts longer, pack cold and frozen food into coolers. Perishable foods should not be kept in temperatures above 40 degrees for more than two hours. Dry ice can be used to keep food cold, but should not come in direct contact with food. Use care when handling dry ice, wearing dry, heavy gloves to avoid injury. 


Power outages during monsoon season may take time for service to be repaired and restored. Generators should only be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from your home to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. 


Extreme heat can also occur during the monsoon season, making it important to stay hydrated to prevent any heat-related illness. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, regardless of how active you are. Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body. Sports drinks can help replace them but avoid sugary and alcoholic drinks which cause you to lose more body fluids. 


Always watch for signs of heat-related illnesses such as cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be deadly.


Heat exhaustion can cause excessive sweating, cold and clammy hands, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps and rapid or weak pulse. 


Heat stroke symptoms include throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, red, hot, dry skin with no sweat and rapid pulse. If anyone is experiencing these symptoms, call 911 immediately and cool them down as quickly as possible with cool towels and an ice bath.