(ATLANTA) - Georgians have experienced their share of severe weather in recent yearts, with storms causing substantial damage, injury and even death. Statistics reveal weather-related events have killed at least 352 people in Georgia, including two in 2012, and injured countless others.
To encourage Georgians to better prepare for these types of disaster, Governor Nathan Deal has proclaimed the week of Feb. 4-8 as Severe Weather Awareness Week.
Throughout the week, Georgians are encouraged to set aside a few minutes each day to get ready for unexpected events, practice emergency response procedures for all types of severe weather and learn more about threats.
“In recent years, Georgia has experienced record flooding, tornadoes and wildfires,” said Charley English, director of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA). “Urbanization and population growth increase the potential for these storms to impact more people and structures, so I encourage our citizens to become more aware of severe weather safety measures and to participate in the various awareness programs during Severe Weather Awareness Week.”
As part of the observation, GEMA’s Ready Georgia campaign is urging people statewide to take some simple steps toward preparedness each day.
- Monday, Feb. 4: Family Preparedness Day - Identify a family reconnection place and purchase a life-saving NOAA Weather Radio.
- Tuesday, Feb. 5: Thunderstorm Safety – Check your patio or yard to make sure there is nothing that could blow away during a storm; remove dead or rotting branches from your trees to prevent storm damage.
- Wednesday, Feb. 6: Tornado Safety and Statewide Tornado Drill (issued by NWS) – Identify a safe place in your home where you could take shelter during a tornado.
- Thursday, Feb. 7: Lightning Safety – Learn the 30/30 rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
- Friday, Feb. 8 – Flood Safety (alternate drill date) – Make copies of important documents, seal them in a watertight container/bag and add them to your Ready kit.
“Georgia is susceptible to nearly every type of natural disaster. Being prepared is the best defense against the unexpected, so Georgians should use this opportunity to take simple, but potentially life-saving emergency preparedness steps,” said English. “Tornadoes, storms and floods can devastate communities, but the damage can be minimized if we’re prepared.”
To help Georgians prepare for severe weather, Ready Georgia offers tools that residents can use to create an emergency supply kit, develop a communications plan and stay informed about potential threats. An interactive website 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. Employers can use the Ready Your Business guide to create custom contingency plans, and children can visit the ReadyKids page for age-appropriate information, videos and games. For preparedness on the go, families can also download Ready Georgia’s free mobile app.
“During severe weather, it could take emergency workers 72 hours or more to reach certain areas in order to open roadways and restore utilities,” said English. “By learning to be self-sufficient for three days or more, Georgians can survive circumstances that might otherwise be tragic.”
For more information on how to prepare for severe weather, visit www.ready.ga.gov or contact your local EMA.
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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.