Knowing current weather conditions and what to do during severe weather situations can save lives, according to Ready Georgia, a statewide campaign by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.
To increase awareness of severe weather conditions and what you can do to prepare for them, Gov. Nathan Deal has proclaimed Feb. 6-10 as Severe Weather Awareness Week.
“Everybody’s on board with this, from (Homeland Security) Director (Charley) English to Gov. (Nathan) Deal to (Liberty County Commissioner) (John) McIver,” said Mike Hodges, Liberty County Emergency Management Agency director. “We all work really close to support this kind of effort.”
During Severe Weather Awareness Week, Hodges said his agency will focus on a specific topic each day by sending out hundreds of emails and posting comments on social networks about that topic. For example, on Monday, the focus will be on family preparedness and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radios.
He recommends using a list of suggested items needed for survival during severe weather situations. This list can be found on the Ready Georgia website, www.ready.ga.gov. These items include medical prescriptions, a gallon of water per day for each person for three days, a three-day supply of food and an NOAA weather radio with extra batteries.
On Wednesday, Hodges said there will be a statewide tornado drill at all public schools as part of the awareness week activities. Although each school follows its own policy, he said most students are advised to move into a hallway near the center of the school, where there are no windows. He advises homeowners to do the same and to go to a bathroom tub or shower and cover yourself with a heavy blanket or mattress.
Although thunderstorms and lightning strikes also are topics that will be discussed via social networks, Hodges said Friday’s focus on floods is particularly important for Liberty County residents.
“We’re flood-prone in this county,” he said, noting that no one has died from flooding in recent memory. “Many people get themselves in trouble by driving into what they think is only water standing in the road, only to find out the road itself has been washed away.”
He advises home owners to find out whether their homes are in flood zones, adding that it’s not unusual for people in remote areas of the county to be stranded in their homes for days following a period of heavy rain.
EMA Assistant Director Larry Logan said the Severe Weather Awareness Week is designed to get people to pay attention to the weather, noting that the better informed people are about extreme weather situations, the more likely they’ll know what to do when severe weather hits our area.
For more information, call the Liberty County EMA at 368-2201 during normal business hours.