If the tornado that ripped through much of Gordon County in December is any reflection of the mass devastation that severe storms can unleash, residents need to be as prepared as possible when inclement weather strikes.
On Friday, Calhoun Mayor Jimmy Palmer and Gordon County Commission Chairwoman Judy Bailey signed a proclamation introducing Monday, Feb. 6 through Feb. 10.
“You have to be prepared,” said Gordon County Emergency Management Agency Richard Cooper. “Dangers do exist in Gordon County.”
Activities throughout the county will highlight different aspects of preparedness each day this week.
Monday was a day to recognize family preparedness, and Tuesday was for thunderstorm safety. Wednesday is tornado safety; Thursday is lightening safety; and Friday will be devoted to flooding safety.
On Wednesday, there was a statewide tornado drill in the middle and high schools, but not in the elementary schools due to testing, according to Cooper. The GCEMA visited one of the area schools unannounced to witness the drills, and talked to the students and faculty about severe weather safety.
The other preparedness topics for the week were also addressed in the schools, Cooper said.
“With a little time and effort, families can prepare for severe weather hazards affecting our area,” said Cooper. “Developing a family disaster plan is the first step.”
Cooper suggests that each family make a severe weather preparedness kit.
“Always have a kit in the home, office, and your business,” explained Cooper. “You have to be prepared.”
Cooper believes that the more prepared individuals and families are, the more routine safety measures will become.
“The more you do to be prepared, the more you’ll know what to do and be prepared,” said Cooper.
The following preparedness tips are from press releases from the Georgia
Emergency Management Agency:
Family preparedness agenda Post emergency telephone numbers by phones
Install safety features in house, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers
Inspect home for potential hazards: such as items that can move, fall or break
Have family members learn basic safety measures: such as first-aid and CPR
Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1
Keep enough supplies in home to meet family’s needs for at least three days
Assemble an emergency preparedness kit with items in case of evacuation
Thunderstorm safety tips
Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall or do damage
Remember the 30/30 rule: go indoors, if after seeing lightening, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing last clap of thunder
Postpone outdoor activities
Get inside a home, building or hard top automobile
Avoid showering or bathing
Use a corded telephone only for emergencies
Use a battery operated weather radio for updates
Tornado preparedness plan
Designate a place where families can go in case danger strikes
If in a high-rise building, you may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor; pick a hallway in the center of the building
Have on hand: first aid kit, medications; canned food and can opener; at least three gallons of water per person, per day; protective clothing, bedding, sleeping bags; battery operated radio; flashlights; extra batteries
Before lightening strikes, look for darkening skies, flashes of light and increasing winds; listen for thunder. If you hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightening; go to safe shelter immediately.
When the storm approaches, find shelter in a building or car; keep windows closed and avoid convertibles. Unplug appliances; avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances; avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any purpose; turn off air conditioner; draw blinds and stay away from windows.
Know area’s flood risks, if it has rained hard for several hours or rained steadily for several days, prepare for the possibility of flooding.
To reduce flood damage: raise furnace, water heater and electric panel if they are areas of your home that may be flooded; consult a professional about damage prevention; check insurance coverage
For more information, visit www.gema.ga.gov