Severe Weather Awareness Week Time to Prepare for Natural Disasters in Georgia
Statewide tornado drill and GEMA’s Ready Georgia campaign aid in preparedness process
(ATLANTA) After a year of natural disasters that caused millions of dollars of damage to Georgia in 2009, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), its Ready Georgia campaign, the National Weather Service (NWS) and local emergency management agencies are supporting Severe Weather Awareness Week in the state, Feb. 1-5.
Severe Weather Awareness Week is a time when Georgians should practice emergency preparedness and response procedures for all types of severe weather events that could occur, and residents can learn more about those threats throughout the week.
“Georgia is susceptible to nearly every type of natural disaster,” said Charley English, director GEMA/Homeland Security. “Though severe weather comes in different forms, by being prepared for one, you are prepared for them all.”
The week’s activities will kick off with Family Preparedness Day on Feb. 1, when all Georgia households are encouraged to get a NOAA Weather Radio and program it for their county. On Wednesday, when tornado safety is emphasized, a statewide tornado drill will be issued by NWS. Severe Weather Awareness Week’s specific observations are:
Monday, Feb. 1 – Family Preparedness and NOAA Weather Radio
Tuesday, Feb. 2 – Thunderstorm Safety
Wednesday, Feb. 3 – Tornado Safety and Statewide Tornado Drill (issued by NWS)
Thursday, Feb. 4 – Lightning Safety
Friday, Feb. 5 – Flood Safety (alternate drill date)
To help Georgians prepare for severe weather, GEMA’s Ready Georgia – a statewide emergency preparedness campaign – offers tools that residents can use to create an emergency supply kit, develop a communications plan and stay informed about potential threats. Ready Georgia’s interactive Web site, provides detailed information on Georgia-specific emergency preparedness and allows users to create a personal profile and receive a customized checklist and family communications plan.
"Georgians who take the time to educate themselves on possible threats are twice as likely to be prepared than others," continued English. "In the event of severe weather, you can be your own first responder if you’ve taken simple steps to prepare, plan and get informed."
During winter storms, floods, tornadoes or hurricanes, it could take emergency workers 72 hours or more to reach certain areas in order to open roadways and restore utilities. The benefit of being self-sufficient for three days, or longer is that residents can survive circumstances that might otherwise be tragic. GEMA offers this information from its Ready Georgia campaign:
Prepare for Severe Weather:
Make your own Ready kit of emergency supplies. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life.
- Water: at least three gallons per person for drinking and sanitation
- Food: at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Manual can opener if kit contains canned food
- Battery-powered or hand crank NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Face mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Local maps
- Specific items for children, family members’ special needs or pets
- Cash or travelers checks
- Important documents in a waterproof container
- Blankets and warm clothes
Plan for Severe Weather:
- Be sure every family member knows important phone numbers for schools, offices, home and emergency services.
- Identify an out-of town contact. It might be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call in town, so an out-of-town contact is in a better position to communicate among separated family members.
- Identify a meeting place near your home where family members can meet if separated during severe weather.
- Identify a meeting place away from your home where family members can meet if your neighborhood in not accessible.
- Map out evacuation routes in case you are ordered to evacuate, and always keep at least a fourth of a tank of gas in your car.
- Know your insurance policies and whether your home is in a flood zone.
Stay Informed about Severe Weather:
- Find out what type of disasters could occur and how you should respond.
- Learn your community's warning signals and evacuation plans.
- Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify severe weather, such as advisories, watches and warnings.
- Monitor NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, television and the Internet to stay informed of severe weather conditions.
About Ready Georgia
Ready Georgia is a statewide campaign designed to educate and empower Georgians to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, pandemic outbreaks, potential terrorist attacks and other large-scale emergencies. The campaign is a project of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and provides a local dimension to Ready America, a broader national campaign. Ready Georgia aims to prepare citizens for maintaining self-sufficiency for at least 72 hours following an emergency, and uses an interactive Web site, online community toolkit, broadcast and print advertising and public awareness media messaging to reach its audiences. Ready Georgia is also on Facebook and YouTube.