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Safety Before the Storm

Create your severe weather action plan now

Preparing for severe weather can save your life

Creating a storm-readiness plan and reviewing it with your household can keep you safe in an emergency. Preparing ahead of time will help you act quickly and confidently to protect yourself and others in severe weather.

Know your risks: Chattanooga’s spring and summer weather hazards

Spring & Summer weather in Chattanooga can rapidly shift from sunny to severe in a few hours. Here’s what we usually experience from March–August in the TN Valley.

  • Potential Weather Hazards
  • Flash Flooding
  • Thick Fog
  • Extreme Heat
  • Severe Thunderstorms & Hail
  • Tornadoes (avg. 2 per year)
  • Occasional Hurricanes or Tropical Storms
  • Average Temperatures
  • Spring: 59-78.1ºF
  • Summer: 70º-89ºF
  • Monthly Precipitation
  • Spring: 3.3-4.5 inches of rain*
  • Summer: 2.8-3.5 inches of rain
*Snow and ice are rare after March

Take these steps before severe weather strikes

If the weather forecast warns that hazardous weather is arriving soon, take the following steps to protect yourself as well as your loved ones, your home and your business.

Build a Storm Kit

Pack “go bags” you can easily grab in an emergency for each household member. Don’t forget your pets! Include the following:

  • Dust masks & face masks
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape
  • Moist towelettes
  • Garbage or grocery bags
  • Plastic ties
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Waterproof container with matches
  • Sanitary and hygiene items
  • Pre-charged, portable battery bank
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Spare glasses or extra contact lenses
  • At least $100 in cash in case ATMs don’t work
  • Extra set of clothes
  • Clean water: 1 gallon/day for each family member
  • Food: non-perishable foods to last you several days
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio or a NOAA Weather Radio
  • Flashlight (hand crank or stocked with batteries)
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries (pre-charged)
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Wrench or pliers
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local, printed maps
  • Cell phone chargers
Power & Lighting Supplies

Charge these items and put them in a safe, easily accessible location:

  • Flashlights
  • Pre-charged batteries
  • USB or solar-powered portable power banks
Safety Tip: Wind and open flames are a dangerous combination — avoid using candles to prevent a possible fire hazard.
Create Emergency Backup Plans

Make arrangements with friends so you have somewhere to stay if needed. If you’re concerned about your food going bad, set up a cooler you can pack with ice to extend the life of your perishables if your fridge warms up.

Identify a “Safe Space” & Practice Tornado Drills

Treating tornado warnings seriously can save your life. Small, interior, windowless rooms are the safest places to shelter from tornadoes.

Prepare Your Vehicle

These preparations can help keep you safe if you’re away from home during severe weather:

  • Check fuel, oil and wiper fluid levels.
  • Clean the battery terminals.
  • Maintain functional brakes.
  • Fill your tank with gas or charge your battery.
  • Change your windshield wipers.
  • Create a mobile emergency supply kit with these items:
  • Cell phone charger & power bank
  • First aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Tow rope
  • Flares
  • Flashlight
  • Water
  • Snacks
Download Apps to Stay Weather-alert

Install the MyEPB App to report, view, track and get real-time alerts for outages and restoration progress. Get notified of severe weather with apps from your favorite weather stations, or FEMA.

Watch vs. Warning — How to respond to weather alerts

Familiarize yourself with different types of weather alerts and which actions to take to protect yourself.


The conditions are right for a severe weather event.

Prepare now for possible power outages and weather hazards.

Tornado Warning

A severe weather event is occurring now.

Follow your safety plan immediately and remain sheltered until it passes.

Surge Protectors

Protect Valuable Electronics

Lightning strikes occasionally lead to power surges that can harm your devices and electronics. Avoid costly damage by plugging them into surge protectors with the following features:

  • Labeled “surge protector” — power strips look similar but don’t offer surge protection.
  • Minimum rating of 2,000 Joules — the higher the rating, the more protection.
  • GFCI or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter — detects short circuits and shuts off power to prevent electrical fires.
Using a generator? Create a safety plan to avoid potentially lethal hazards

A generator is a great way to meet your needs and return to normalcy during an outage. However, it’s essential to practice basic safety measures to avoid accidental harm or even death.

  1. 1. Choose the safest location for your generator ahead of time to avoid potentially lethal hazards, such as suffocation from carbon monoxide, electrocution and fires.
    • Outside — Carbon monoxide emissions can kill you quickly in enclosed spaces.
    • 20+ feet away from your home.
    • Exhaust pointed away from windows and doors.
    • Keep it covered and well-ventilated in a small plastic shed, portable canopy, generator-safe steel enclosure or with an official generator cover.
  2. 2. Find outdoor-rated extension cords. Using a standard extension cord or one that has the wrong gauge, length or a worn-out wire can lead to fatal shock, fire hazards and inefficiency. Directly connect an outdoor-rated generator-safe cord with the generator and plug your electronics into the extension cord.
  3. 3. Hire a professional to install a transfer switch for extra safety. A certified electrician can install this directly into your electrical panel so that it directly powers your hardwired appliances.
  4. 4. Create and store a list of safety tips and risks near your generator. Misusing these devices can lead to death from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, possible electrocution, and burns — all of which can be avoided of you know the risks.
    • Only refuel when the generator is off and has had a chance to cool down.
    • Avoid fumes at all times. Stay at least 15 feet away from the generator while it’s running to avoid inhaling toxic fumes that can kill or harm you.
    • Don’t “backfeed” your home. Don’t plug your generator into a wall outlet to supply your home. This can cause a fire or electrocution.