When powerful windstorms roll into Colorado, they can become hazardous for a number of reasons. Here are five tips that will help you stay safe when the wind starts to howl:
1. Avoid forested areas: Forested areas mean lots of trees, which can pose a deadly hazard when they start falling. As might be expected, windy days can bring quite a few branches down. Even a small branch is capable of killing. When a wind storm blows through, it might be a smart idea to post-pone outdoor recreation or recreate in a non-wooded area.
2. Avoid travel: Powerful winds can make driving a vehicle in a straight line much more difficult, especially when it's a high-profile vehicle. As a result, this can mean an increased likelihood of a wreck. Plus, blowing dust and debris can limit visibility – another hazard that ups the risk factor. Avoid travel, if possible.
3. Stay safe while inside: During windstorms, it's recommended to stay on the bottom floor of a structure. It's also recommended to stay away from windows, as these can break if hit by flying debris. Set up shop in a first-floor interior room and wait it out.
4. Plan for a power outage: It's not uncommon for wind storms to damage power lines, leading to a power outage. It's important to have a plan ready if this occurs. In the winter, know where blankets are to help you stay warm if needed and have a plan for food that doesn't involve opening the fridge. While outages typically last a few hours, they can sometimes last for days.
5. Proceed with caution outside: Watch out for unsecured objects (and make sure objects are secure in your own yard). Use handrails to prevent getting knocked over by a surprise gust. Never touch a downed power line. Consider wearing eye protection and a mask to protect against blowing dust and debris. Avoid places where a fall risk might be high, such as ridgelines and rooftops.
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