On Sunday, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a proclamation of support for Severe Weather Awareness Week. Now, local first responders are spreading the word about the importance of preparing for weather emergencies.
Southwest Georgia is a region at risk for all types of severe weather. "Thunderstorms, electrical storms and those could turn into tornadoes," said Jim Vaught of the Dougherty County EMA. "We also have, we know we have hurricanes, we know we have flooding in this area."
Vaught says the key to weather safety is planning ahead. He suggests that families celebrate Severe Weather Awareness Week by sitting down together and answering a few critical questions, such as where the family would meet in case of separation. Every emergency preparedness plan should include the answers to such questions as well as important phone numbers, evacuation routes, and insurance information.
It's also a good time to review the basics in case disaster strikes. "You need to be in the most interior, lowest floor of your house," said FOX 31 Chief Meteorologist Mike Morrison. "A lot of times, that's an interior bathroom. Don't use electronics. Don't use plumbing unless it's an emergency."
A crucial piece of your family's emergency plan is a kit stocked with enough supplies to last at least 72 hours. It should include things like bottled water, canned goods, a flashlight, and any medication that you or a member of your family might need.
"They want to have some sort of a special place they can go, grab this kit, and be able to go," added Vaught. He also urges all members of the community to take advantage of the fire department's online Code Red system. "If you're in the path of a projected storm," he said. "You'll receive a telephone call to give you an early warning."