What to do in a dust storm at home? Lately, when it comes to calamities, the first thing that pops into our heads is the Covid-19 pandemic.
Well, let me tell you, those Australian wildfires were a real issue too.
But wait! There is something equally devastating you should be keeping an eye out for.
Well, well, well, look who is here! It is the infamous Sahara Dust Cloud paying us a visit. And if you do not know what to do, you may be in trouble.
So, what to do during a dust storm at home?
You should stay indoors, close windows and doors, put on safety gear if necessary, and monitor the weather reports during a dust storm.
What Makes Dust Storms So Dangerous?
Dust storms have the potential to cause harm to your home, create traffic problems, and pose a risk to your health.
These storms can cause problems for a home, and it is not just a matter of appearance.
Although dust particles may give your house an unclean and disorganized appearance, they can also cause damage to appliances and equipment.
When driving, a large dust storm can significantly reduce visibility, and dense dust can increase the risk of traffic collisions.
Understanding the Biggest Concern of Dust Storms
The most notable concern is the potential harm to human health, particularly for individuals with respiratory problems.
Dust storms can cause tiny dust particles to become airborne, which can be inhaled. Inhaling dust can cause a variety of problems regardless of a person’s physical condition.
Dust can be especially bothersome for individuals with asthma, allergies, or COPD.
These particles have the potential to cause considerable irritation when they come into contact with your eyes.
What to Do In a Dust Storm at Home?
When the winds start to howl, you know a dust storm is brewing!
This wild natural phenomenon, also known as a sandstorm, picks up all the loose particles of dust and sand, and tosses them high up into the sky. It is a real sight to see!
Although these storms are more common in arid and semi-arid regions, they can occur everywhere due to shifts in global weather patterns.
Preparation and quick action are crucial for staying safe during a dust storm.
Understand Dust Storms to Prepare Better
In the early stages of most dust storms, a massive, towering wall of dust and sand moves swiftly across the landscape.
Strong, gusty winds are a hallmark of these conditions, and they can significantly impair visibility and alter air quality.
Those with preexisting respiratory disorders are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of dust.
Dust storms not only endanger people’s health, but they can also disrupt transportation, destroy property, and ruin crops.
Prepare Before the Storm
To lessen the effects of a dust storm, preparation is key.
If you reside in a region that is prone to dust storms, you must keep up with the latest weather forecasts.
The local weather service and other officials often release updates on the current weather situation. If you have the option, sign up for emergency alerts.
Make sure you have things such as:
- Bottled water
- Nonperishable food
- A hand-crank or battery-operated radio
- A first-aid kit
- Any prescriptions you may need
- Additional batteries
- Dust masks
Keeping these things ready will help you handle a dust storm in a more effective manner.
What Should You Do During a Dust Storm?
When a dust storm hits you, the most important thing is to limit exposure and lower the risk of sustaining any injury.
Here is what you should do:
During a dust storm, it is best to stay inside to avoid any accidents.
Things can quickly go wrong in a dust storm because the strong winds carry huge quantities of dust and sand, reducing visibility.
In addition, people who already have respiratory issues may be at risk from the storm’s poor air quality. The dust in the air is irritating and perhaps dangerous.
Staying indoors protects you from these dangers and keeps you in an atmosphere that is more manageable and secure.
Manage Things Outside Your Home
You need to react fast and have a contingency plan when a storm is imminent.
Anything outside your home that could be carried up by the wind and thrown around should be brought inside, stored in a garage or shed, or discarded.
- Take down your patio umbrellas
- Store your outdoor furniture
- Bring your kids’ toys inside
- Fasten any cloth canopies
Do not risk damage to your umbrellas by leaving them out in the open during the stormy season.
A storm could damage or even ruin your umbrella if it arrives while you are at work.
Fact: Keep in mind that storms can bring the threat of lightning, and any tall metal object, such as an umbrella, can act as a lightning rod.
Keep Doors and Windows Closed
When a dust storm hits, it is high time to batten down the hatches and close all windows and doors to keep the dust devil at bay.
Make sure to seal all possible entry points, even the ones that are as small as a mouse hole.
If you spot any chinks in the armor or loose ends, just throw a damp towel over it to arrange a makeshift barrier.
Putting in the effort to keep the air inside fresh and clean will save you from cleaning up a mess later on.
Turn Off Your Air Conditioning
According to data gathered by meteorologists, the hottest part of the summer is also when most dust storms in the US occur.
This means that there is a high chance you already have your air conditioning running while a storm rolls through.
It is advisable to turn it off so that dirt is not drawn inside the house.
When the air conditioner is on, it might draw in the air with fine particles and release it into the home’s interior.
This is not only dangerous to the unit itself but also to the health of anyone in the home who suffers from asthma or dust allergies.
An Important Consideration
Power outages brought on by storms may wreak havoc on an air conditioner’s compressor and cause all sorts of other electrical issues around the house.
Fact: It is preferable to wait until the dust storm passes before turning on the electricity again, as this will ensure that your appliances continue functioning for many years.
Wear Protective Gear
If you have to go outside in a dust storm, it is essential that you wear protective clothing.
Particles in the air, such as dust, can aggravate the respiratory system and the eyes.
Conditions including conjunctivitis and silicosis can develop from extended contact with dust. Wearing goggles will shield your eyes from dust and dirt.
Filtering out particles with a mask or cloth over your nose and mouth might lessen the likelihood of allergies, asthma attacks, and other respiratory difficulties.
Drinking water is especially important during a dust storm.
Mucous membranes like the ones lining your nose and throat can lose moisture to dust, causing you to become dehydrated.
Dehydration can have a wide range of negative effects on the body, including weariness and discomfort.
Keeping yourself hydrated is associated with a boosted immune system and eliminating pollutants, such as breathed dust.
Fact: Dust storms can cause severe dehydration so you should drink enough water regardless of thirst.
Learn to Communicate Effectively
Maintaining safety and keeping up-to-date during a dust storm necessitates reliable means of communication.
With a fully charged phone, you can contact others for assistance or share what is happening with them.
The reliability of cell towers during disasters raises the need for portable, battery-operated radios.
By listening to the radio, you may get up-to-date information on the storm’s location and strength and safety precautions directly from authorities or weather stations.
Fact: As per FEMA, a battery-operated or hand-cranked radio is an essential piece of equipment for each emergency pack.
What Should You Do After a Dust Storm?
Once you have successfully ridden out of the storm, it is time to recover and clean your home to improve indoor air quality.
Here is what you can do:
- Open your windows to promote better ventilation.
- Clean your home completely and change your air filters and clean your vents.
- Do a thorough check of your home for any signs of damage.
- Be on the lookout for broken power lines, downed trees, and structure damage.
- Seek emergency medical attention if anyone is suffering from breathing difficulties.
What to do in a dust storm at home? Keeping everyone safe and sound is an absolute top priority during a dust storm at home.
The safest option is to stay inside, away from the dust, and to keep doors and windows closed.
If going outside is unavoidable, protecting oneself with a mask and goggles might lessen their exposure to dust.
By keeping these tips in mind and stocking up on supplies, people can stay safe and healthy when dealing with dust storms.