Dalton (GA) - The North Georgia Health District, part of the Georgia Department of Public Health, is proud to promote National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, March 3-9, 2013. During this week, we are asking everyone who lives or works in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties to Be a Force of Nature and better prepare for severe weather threats in our area.
As part of weather-readiness, we as individuals can Be a Force of Nature by knowing the risk, taking action and serving as an example.
Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Severe Weather Preparedness Week is a nationwide effort to increase awareness of severe weather and to motivate individuals, families, businesses, and communities to take actions that will prepare them in the event of severe weather.
Each year, individuals are killed or seriously injured by tornadoes and other types of severe weather, despite advance warning. In 2012, there were more than 450 weather-related fatalities and nearly 2,600 injuries. Severe weather knows no boundaries and affects every individual.
According to David Huskey, district director of Emergency Preparedness, "We are committed to working with leaders in all six of our counties to ensure the safety of each community; however, each individual has an important role to play in this, as well. By taking a few steps now, you can be better prepared and assist in saving lives."
Know Your Risk: The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family. North Georgia has already been impacted by hazardous weather this year - and, at some point, every state in the United States has experienced tornadoes and/or severe weather - so everyone is exposed to some degree of risk. Check the weather forecast regularly and visit www.ready.gov/severe-weather to learn more about how to be better prepared and how to protect your family during emergencies.
Pledge and Take Action: Be a Force of Nature by taking the Pledge to Prepare at www.ready.gov/severe-weather. When you pledge to prepare, you will take the first step to making sure that you and your family are prepared for severe weather. This includes filling out your family communications plan that you can email to yourself, putting an emergency kit together, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place, and getting involved.
Obtain a NOAA Weather Radio, and check to see if your cell phone is equipped to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts and sign up for localized alerts from emergency management officials. Stay informed by having multiple sources for weather alerts - NOAA Weather Radio, Weather.gov, and Wireless Emergency Alerts. Subscribe to receive alerts at www.weather.gov/subscribe.
Additionally, be prepared to either go to a shelter or to shelter in place by making sure you have all the supplies you and each family member will need for at least 3 days - for more information about needed shelter supplies, log onto www.nghd.org/District-Programs/Emergency-Preparedness.
Be an Example: Once you have taken action, share your story with your family and friends. Create a YouTube video, post your story on Facebook, comment on a blog, or send a tweet. Studies show that many people use social media in the event of a disaster to let relatives and friends know they are safe. This is an important trend because people are most likely to take preparedness steps if they observe the preparations taken by others. Social media provides the perfect platform to demonstrate preparedness actions for others. In fact, the best way to keep up with public health information, especially during a crisis, is to "like" the North Georgia Health District’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/N.GA.Health and follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/NGAHealthDist.
More information and ideas on how you can Be a Force of Nature in preparation of different types of severe weather such as tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flooding is available on the North Georgia Health District’s Emergency Preparedness page at www.nghd.org/District-Programs/Emergency-Preparedness (Spanish translation and visually impaired access are available), or log onto www.weather.gov and www.ready.gov/severe-weather (the Spanish-language website is www.listo.gov.)