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Ready kit-CMYKSummer is here and a lot of people are preparing for a variety of outdoor activities and vacations like beach trips, boating on the lake, mountain hiking and more.  Whatever getaway or summer fun you’re doing, you’re going to have to plan on packing the right items to get ready for your trip, whether it’s a swimsuit, hiking boots or sunscreen. While you can fully prepare for summer fun, you can’t always fully predict summer weather.

This Sunday, June 1, is the start of hurricane season. Although hurricanes pose the strongest threat to coastal regions, storms that form in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico have the potential to bring storm surge, high winds, tornadoes and inland flooding across Georgia. During the summer, Georgia is also notorious for having extreme heat conditions.

While heading to the store to pick up any necessary items for your planned summer activities, consider grabbing some items that could benefit you in the event of a disaster. It is a good rule of thumb to do one thing today that your future self will thank you for.

Getting prepared before an emergency is not as hard as you might think. First, create a Ready kit checklist consisting of all supplies you may need in the event of a disaster.  The Ready Georgia App also allows you to easily access a supplies checklist on your smartphone.

Some items you may want to include on your checklist:

  • Water. One gallon per person per day, for at least 3 days, for drinking and hygiene
  • Food. At least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Can opener. For food, if kit contains canned food
  • Radio. Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit

If you need some advice on additional items, visit the Ready Checklist page for some helpful suggestions.  Be sure to keep in mind the needs of children, people with disabilities, pets and seniors as well.

Once you have your Ready Kit checklist prepared, search your house for items you may already have, mark them off of your list and place them in an area that is easily accessible during an emergency. Then prioritize the remaining items on your list by the importance of each item. Once you have your list ready, make it a point to grab at least one item from you checklist every time you make a shopping run. If you follow this tactic, you will have your Ready kit fully stocked in no time!

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Fun activities are a great way to educate kids about potentially scary topics like natural disasters. That’s why Ready Georgia offers a variety of tools to help parents and teachers talk to children about the steps they can take to prepare for emergencies.

LEGO kids

Thanks to the FIRST LEGO League (FLL), this year children ages 9 to 14 had another fun way to learn about emergency preparedness and dive into the exciting world of science and technology. Through the League, student teams participated in regional, state and national competitions building innovative solutions to real-life problems through LEGO robotics. The 2013-14 theme for the competition was “Nature’s Fury,” challenging students to master natural disasters. Participants explored the effects of tornadoes, earthquakes and other disasters, identifying where these events can occur and formulating a way to prepare, stay safe or rebuild.

Ready Georgia recently spoke with Steven Nelson, science and operations officer of the National Weather Service and coach of a participating team in First LEGO League regional and super regionals competitions. Read on for Nelson’s experience in the League.

RG: When did you first get involved with the FIRST LEGO League?

In August 2013, I volunteered to coach a team in the League consisting of 4th and 5th grade students from Kedron Elementary in Peachtree City. At this point in my life, I had not committed to something like this but decided to venture into the unknown. We were the not only first team to participate in the robotics competition from our school, but for all elementary schools in Fayette County as well.

RG:  Can you tell us what the competition entailed?

Each annual challenge revolves around a real-world, scientific problem. This year’s challenge was “Nature’s Fury.” Each team defines a problem related to a natural disaster, such as how to keep people safe during a storm, and uses STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) principles to research a solution to that problem. The most unique aspect of the challenge is the design and programming an autonomous robot, built from a special kit comprised entirely of LEGO pieces, motors and sensors to score as many points as possible on a themed playing field for 2 minutes and 30 seconds.  It was a lot of fun, not just for the kids, but for me as well!

RG: What was your team’s name?

Our team name for the completion was the “Kedron Purple Princesses” and it consisted of 10 very motivated 5th grade girls. And before you ask, no, I did not wear a tiara.

RG: What did the “Kedron Purple Princesses” choose as their project for the challenge and what did they do to prepare for it?

In preparation for the competition, the team met after school three times a week for three months prior to the first competition. The girls researched natural disasters, came up with multiple project ideas, then built and tested robots. They ultimately decided to tackle the problem of keeping people safe during blizzards and named their robot “Frostbiter.”

During the team’s research, the students interviewed Georgia Emergency Management Agency’s public affairs officer, Lisa Janak Newman, on how to stay safe in blizzards.  For instance, she informed us that most residents of Georgia do not have a safety kit in their vehicles to be better prepared for winter storms.

RG: Can you provide us with a first-hand view of what your team experienced during the competitions?

In November, we traveled to Columbus State University for our first regional competition. The robot competition was a blast and everyone enjoyed watching the other teams compete. Judges also asked the teams to make a short presentation on the FLL core values, the technical aspects of the robot and programming and a project presentation in which they show their problem and solution. The team won a trophy in the programming category.  When all the points were added, we placed high enough at the regional level to qualify for the super regional competition in January.  While we did not place high enough to advance to the state competition, the girls walked away with the grand prize: a better appreciation and understanding of natural disasters and the knowledge that with hard work, fairness and cooperation, any challenge can be overcome.

RG: Do you have any advice to share with other teams that may participate in future competitions?

Definitely get involved. Let the kids experiment and make mistakes. Encourage discussion of why things work and don’t work.  While being recognized for doing well and succeeding at competitions is great, the kids need to be encouraged at all stages of the effort, and above all, let them have fun!

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The tornado that struck parts of central and southern U.S. on Sunday, killing at least 17 people, serves as an unfortunate reminder that disasters can occur with little warning. With severe weather expected through Wednesday in Georgia we encourage everyone to prepare now for these potentially disastrous storms.

Remember, tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. They can appear without warning and be invisible until dust and debris are picked up or a funnel cloud appears. Planning and practicing specifically how and where you take shelter is a matter of survival. Here are some tips, as well as an infographic, to help you prepare and plan for any future tornadoes.

Stay Informed:

• Contact your local emergency management agency to learn your community’s warning system.
• Familiarize yourself with the terms used to identify tornado hazards – a tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area. A tornado WARNING means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed for your area, so you need to find shelter immediately.
• Monitor NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, television and the Internet to stay informed of severe weather conditions.
• Make sure you have a way to receive alerts if you are at home, at work or on the go. Wireless Emergency Alerts are being sent directly to newer cell phones by authorized government alerting authorities. If you own a smartphone, download a weather service app to receive notifications of storms and hazardous conditions in the area. The Ready Georgia mobile app is free and offers up-to-the-minute, geo-located weather and hazard alerts, as well as customizable emergency preparedness checklists.

Prepare:

• Compile a Ready kit of emergency supplies – such as water, non-perishable food, flashlight and extra batteries and a first aid kit – in case you lose electricity or have to evacuate. Keep a copy of your insurance information and vital records, such as birth certificates, in the Ready kit. Don’t forget to factor in the unique needs of family members, such as supplies for pets, seniors, children or individuals with disabilities or an access and functional need.
• Determine in advance where you will take shelter in case of a tornado, preferably in a basement or a storm cellar. Keep blankets or a mattress here to protect against falling debris.
• Charge your cell phone in case you lose power.

Plan:

tornado infographic

• If local authorities issue a tornado warning – or if you see a funnel cloud or tornado – take shelter immediately.
• Storm cellars or basements provide the best protection. If possible, climb under something sturdy, like a heavy table or work bench, and cover yourself with blankets or a mattress.
• If underground shelter is not available, go into an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down and cover your head with your hands. A bathtub may offer some protection, but cover up with thick padding – like a mattress or blankets – to protect against falling debris, if time allows. A helmet can offer some protection against head injury.
• In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible. Go to the center of the room and avoid windows, doors and outside walls.
• Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter. Stay off the elevators, as you could be trapped if power is lost.
• A vehicle, trailer or mobile home does not provide good protection. Get out immediately and head for safety, preferably in a basement or sturdy building. If shelter is not available, lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area and use your arms to protect your head. Do not get under an overpass or bridge – you are safer in a low, flat location.

To learn how to prepare for emergencies, create communications plans and more, visit ready.ga.gov.

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Its April Fool’s Day and one culprit guilty of playing tricks on people is Mother Nature. She is notorious for surprising Georgians throughout the year with unexpected severe weather, ranging from flash floods to snowstorms. Instead of being funny, these surprises are often dangerous and emphasize the need to be prepared in advance, regardless of what we think is going to happen.

One way Mother Nature tends to throw Georgia residents off track is by providing abnormal temperatures during different seasons. According to the National Weather Service, the highest recorded January temperature in Georgia was a balmy 79 degrees on Jan. 11, 1949, while  June 1, 1889, clocked in a mere 39 degrees. The latest time in the year for a freeze occurrence documented in Georgia history is April 25, 1910, when temperatures dropped as low as 31 degrees.  With the unreasonably warm temperatures, ice storms and tornadoes of recent months, it is apparent that Mother Nature began her pranks early in 2014.

Here are a few other times in Georgia history when Mother Nature pulled a fast one on us:

pic 1The Boomerang Hurricane:  On Oct. 15, 1947, citizens of Savannah were hit with an unexpected whirlwind known as the Cape Sable Hurricane. It originated as a weak tropical cyclone that developed into a hurricane. After hitting Cuba and Florida, the storm appeared to be heading out to the Atlantic when it suddenly turned back west and hit unsuspecting Savannah residents. Winds reaching 95 miles per hour felled trees, peeled roofs off of houses and smashed windows and billboards throughout the city. The bizarre path was caused by a high pressure center that built north of the storm, and Savannah citizens were not notified of the hurricane until the morning before it hit.

pic 2Thundersnow:  On Feb. 28, 2009, Georgia experienced a slew of thunderstorms throughout the state. The National Weather Service issued more than 25 tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings, resulting in property damage and downed trees across central Georgia. However, residents were not out of the woods just yet. Immediately following these storms, cold air filtered into the state causing a combination of snow and lightning in some areas on March 1. These “thundersnows” are an extremely rare occurrence in Georgia.

pic 3Southeast Floods: In September 2009, metro Atlanta experienced historic, record-breaking flooding. A massive amount of rain, produced by moisture drawn from the Gulf of Mexico, fell faster than local watersheds could drain the runoff. Almost half of the state’s annual rainfall of 50 inches fell in some areas in only 24 hours. The Chattahoochee River was measured at a 500-year flood level, something that should only occur twice in a millennium.  Other Georgia bodies of water that flooded include Lake Lanier, Lake Allatoona and Sweetwater Creek. As a result of these floods, ten people lost their lives, and the state insurance commissioner estimated the resulting damage cost $250 million. Fortunately, this type of flood has a 0.2 percent chance of occurring in any given year.

Remember, bizarre weather can develop quickly and with little warning. It’s important to prepare in advance and have a reliable weather alert system.

Keith Stellman is the Meteorologist-in-Charge at the National Weather Service’s Peachtree City office

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Photo 1 Chief Acree2013-2

By Roy Acree – Deputy Fire Chief/EMA Director, City of Smyrna

Last September, the City of Smyrna enthusiastically embraced a new national preparedness campaign called America’s PrepareAthon! The initiative builds on FEMA’s successful Ready America efforts – or locally, GEMA’s Ready Georgia campaign – but encourages a more focused call to action for individuals and organizations. The goal: to get communities to take simple, specific actions to increase their preparedness for a potential local disaster.

To tie into spring weather awareness, Ready Smyrna is hosting another PrepareAthon! this weekend. Smyrna Emergency Management Agency personnel have taken steps to reach out to business owners, discussing shelter-in-place plans, and encouraging participation in a city-wide tornado drill scheduled this Friday at noon.

The city has also organized a Family Preparedness Expo on March 22nd, where citizens can learn specific disaster-related protective actions and community plans. Held at Smyrna Elementary School, this event will provide preparedness information in a seminar-type environment. Scheduled presenters include; Cobb-Douglas Public Health, Cobb County District Attorney’s Office, Tru-Prep, Safe America Foundation, Smyrna Police and Fire Departments and others.

Finally, in an effort to increase awareness of Ready Smyrna’s PrepareAthon! campaign, the city has launched a new website – www.readysmyrna.com – and will unveil a mobile app this Friday. The Ready Smyrna PrepareAthon app will have several functions. Primarily, it will notify users of severe weather in the area. Additionally, it will have preparedness information embedded in the app.

Having preparedness information is good, having a plan is better, but putting a plan into place is best. Quite simply, that’s the intent of Ready Smyrna’s PrepareAthon! – increasing our whole community’s level of disaster preparedness by encouraging action. And there’s more to come.  The city is already planning the next PrepareAthon! event for September.

To learn more about America’s PrepareAthon!, visit FEMA.gov\prepareathon.

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It was the miracle shot that potentially saved thousands of lives. Six years ago today, an Alabama basketball player sank a last second shot against Mississippi State, sending the SEC tournament game into overtime. As a result, when an EF-2 tornado tore through the heart of Atlanta only minutes later – severely damaging numerous downtown landmarks including the Georgia Dome – the majority of the 20,000 fans in attendance were still in their seats.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), tornadoes are the No. 1 severe weather-related killer in Georgia. Although they can strike at any time, March, April and May are typically the most active months for twister activity – so there’s no better time to start preparing for these dangerous storms. Here are a few other notable tornadoes that took place in the spring.

  • April 1936: Known as the “Gainesville Tornado,” a pair of storms converged in Gainesville, killing 203 people and injuring 1,600. Property damage included destruction of four blocks and 750 homes in northern parts of the state. This storm made the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration list of the 10 deadliest U.S. tornadoes on record.
  • March 2007: On March 1, a record 21 tornadoes touched down in central and south Georgia, leaving nine people dead, nearly 100 injured and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. The 143-bed Sumter Regional Hospital in Americus took a direct hit from a violent EF-3 tornado, but fortunately the staff was able to safely evacuate all 53 patients from the 265,000-square-foot complex.
  • April 2011: From April 25 to 28, there were more than 150 reported tornadoes and approximately 321 fatalities in six states throughout the Southeast. In Georgia alone, 15 tornadoes touched down, including a rare powerful EF-4 tornado that struck Catoosa County, the ninth in the state’s history. The outbreak killed 15 Georgians, injured 143, caused extensive property damage and left more than 49,000 residents without power.

And here are a few key facts about tornadoes.

  • The United States has the highest number of tornado occurrences in the world with an average of 1,000 tornadoes reported each year.
  • According to the National Weather Service (NWS), there were 55 tornado-related deaths nationwide last year.
  • Most tornadoes form from severe thunderstorms, but hurricanes or tropical storms can also produce them.
  • They can appear without warning and remain invisible until dust and debris are picked up or a funnel cloud appears.
  • Winds may exceed 300 miles per hour and often move at less than 35 miles per hour.
  • Tornado watches are issued by NWS when atmospheric conditions promote the forming of tornadoes.
  • Warnings are issued when Doppler radar detects a mesocyclone in a thunderstorm, or when a funnel cloud has been spotted.
  • The Fujita scale is used to estimate the wind speed of a tornado by the damage the tornado causes. In 2007, a team of meteorologists and wind engineers updated the original scale – which was developed by Theodore Fujita of the University of Chicago in 1971 – with the Enhanced F Scale. The category scale ranges from EF0 to EF5.
    • EF0: Wind estimates between 65 and 85 miles per hour.
    • EF1: Wind estimates between 86 to 110 miles per hour.
    • EF2: Wind estimates between 111 and 135 miles per hour.
    • EF3: Wind estimates between 136 and 165 miles per hour.
    • EF4: Wind estimates between 166 and 200 miles per hour.
    • EF5: Wind estimates more than 200 miles per hour, which can tear a house off its foundation and send automobile-sized missiles flying through the air.

Although tornadoes may be unpredictable, the sudden nature of this type of disaster calls for diligent preparedness so you’re not caught off-guard. If one struck tomorrow, would you be ready? Take proactive actions and prepare in advance to protect you and your family before disaster strikes. Visit our website to ensure you have a reliable alert system and plan in place.

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Pipe_CalmFrom unseasonably warm temperatures to ice and snow to tornadoes, 2014 has been a wild weather roller coaster for Georgia. And that’s not all. Two earthquakes that struck South Carolina rattled Georgia, too. At 10:23 p.m. on Feb. 14, an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.1 struck near Edgefield, S.C., according to the U.S. Geological Survey website. On Sunday, Feb. 16, a 3.2 aftershock near the site of Friday’s event was confirmed at 3:23 p.m. Shaking was felt hundreds of miles away.

Regardless of the severity, it’s important to spend time after any natural disaster evaluating your response and preparing for the next potential occurrence. Mother Nature can be unpredictable, so procrastination is not your friend when time is tight and every minute counts. Here are some tips to help you take advantage of this “calm after the storm.”

Evaluate:

  • After-action review. Now is the perfect time to evaluate your family’s emergency plan. Take time to assess the event and research appropriate preparedness steps and responses for the next time a storm might strike.
  • Take notes. Document which tools in your Ready kit were beneficial and any additional items that could be helpful for future disasters. For tips on helpful items to include in your Ready kit, click here.
  • Assess property damage. Check your home for damage and document it prior to clean-up or repairs. If you are a renter, report damages to your landlord as soon as possible. Make sure to review insurance coverage and report claims.

Prepare:

  • Stock up. Print out a Ready kit checklist and travel to a local store to buy supplies. Remember the essentials such as water, canned foods, batteries, flashlight, a battery-powered radio and first aid kit, as well as unique items for pets, seniors or family members with special needs. Make sure you have enough supplies to survive at least three days.
  • Cash out. In case of a power outage, always have cash ready as ATM and credit card receivers may not function.  
  • Have a way to receive weather alerts, wherever you are. Contact your local emergency management agency to learn what warning system is used in your county. If you are a smartphone owner, download a weather service app to receive notifications of storms and hazardous conditions in the area. The Ready Georgia mobile app is free and offers up-to-the-minute, geo-located weather and hazard alerts, as well as customizable emergency preparedness checklists. GEMA also recommends having a NOAA Weather Radio. This is the best way to hear watches and warnings from NWS, even if they are issued in the middle of the night.
  • Know the basics. From snowstorms to tornadoes, it’s important to know how to respond if disaster strikes. For example, even though they are rare in Georgia, earthquakes can occur with no warning and vary in severity.

Visit the Ready Georgia website for more tips on how to “drop, cover and hold on!” the next time an earthquake hits or what to pack in your car should a snowstorm leave you stranded.

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snowgirlPreparation is never an all-or-nothing proposition. Even if you didn’t have time to put together a complete Ready kit before the snow and ice set in, you can still make some last-minute preparations and take safety precautions for what lies ahead.

If you currently have power:

  • Juice up. Make sure all electronics are plugged in so they can be charged to full capacity. If it is safe to go to your vehicle, make sure the car chargers for your devices are accessible so you can utilize your car as a source of power, if needed.
  • Keep a flashlight handy. Be sure to have flashlights at the ready, and look around the house now for extra batteries to power it if needed. Flashlights are the safest light source during a power outage, but if you opt to use candles, check out these safety tips to reduce your risk for a house fire.
  • Locate your power company’s number and store it in your phone. If and when the power outage occurs, you will need to inform them. Do not call 911 to report a power outage.
  • Plan for fun. Having a ready supply of board or card games to play with your family or friends is a great way of avoiding boredom and staying positive in the event of a power outage. There are thousands of suggestions online for activities to keep kids entertained. Check those out now and gather supplies so you’re ready to go if the lights go out.
  • Do some baking. While you still have electricity, go ahead and cook a few foods that will be easy to store and eat later. Muffins, fruit breads and other treats like brownies and cookies will be especially welcome if you are without power long enough to tire of canned food items.

If you lose power:

  • Generate electricity safely. To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, use generators, grills and portable cook stoves outdoors only. Use extreme caution when using alternative heating or cooking sources. Click here for more tips from the Georgia Poison Center.
  • Pull the plug. Pull the plug on motor-driven appliances such as refrigerators and electronic gear such as computers and televisions to prevent damaging electrical overload when power is restored.
  • Water safety. Check with local authorities to be sure your water is safe for usage.
  • Layers, layers and more layers. During cold weather, wear multiple layers of clothing, which helps to maintain body heat.
  • Utilize your freezer. A freezer that is half full stores food unharmed for up to 24 hours. A full freezer, however, keeps food preserved properly for 48 hours. Do not open the freezer door if you can avoid it.
  • Also utilize your refrigerator. To preserve refrigerated items, pack items such as milk, other dairy products, meat, eggs and spoilable leftovers into a cooler enclosed with ice. For this purpose, inexpensive Styrofoam coolers are efficient. According to the Georgia Department of Agriculture,  refrigerated food should be safe as long as the power was out for no more than four hours and the door was kept shut. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.
  • Preserve your light sources. Open up blinds and utilize daylight in order to save the candles and flashlights for the night.
  • No-power cooking. There are plenty of recipes of recipes for meals that don’t require electricity. One of our favorites: “No-cook Soft Tacos” from Power Outage Picnic.

For more ready tips, be sure to visit www.ready.ga.gov.

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family planThis week, Georgia experienced an unprecedented series of challenges related to the winter storm and subsequent traffic shutdown. At Verizon, our employees in the affected areas experienced many of these challenges, and our thoughts go out to everyone who was stuck away from home. This winter storm really drove home the enormous importance of getting ready before severe weather emergencies.

Monday is the first day of Georgia’s Severe Weather Awareness Week, when Georgians are encouraged to take steps to prepare for the upcoming severe weather season. Our focus at Verizon is to keep people connected, to this end, here are a few tips on how technology can help keep your family connected in the event of an emergency like the one last week.

First, develop a family emergency plan that includes what to do, who to call, where to go and what supplies to take with you if your family must evacuate. Wireless devices can be a key source of information and communication in an event of an emergency, so be sure to keep phones, tablets, laptops, batteries, chargers and other equipment in dry, accessible locations like re-sealable plastic bags. Plus, have car chargers available to charge devices while on the road.

Use your smartphone or tablet to take photos or videos of personal possessions for insurance purposes. You can save them to an online file storage site such as Verizon Cloud, ensuring you have a copy on file in case your computer is damaged.

When communicating with family during an emergency situation, opt for brief text messages rather than voice calls. Text messages are likely to get through more quickly in a crisis. You can also use your phone to follow local news, emergency contacts and community leaders via social media.

There are many apps available to help before, during and after an emergency. Weather Bug, for example, alerts you to potential severe weather, including radar, and supplements TV and radio warnings when the power goes out. Ready Georgia’s mobile app  offers local weather and hazard alerts, lets you create and update your personalized emergency contacts and plans, provides an emergency supplies checklist and information on how to prepare for specific threats, and shows the location of the nearest open shelters. Also, an app such as Flashlight on iPhone can turn your smartphone into a light source in the event of a power outage.

Other wireless tips to help you stay connected and informed:

  • Limit non-emergency calls to conserve battery power and free-up wireless networks for emergency agencies and operations.
  • Check weather and news reports available through many Internet-connected wireless phones, and through other wireless phone applications, when the power is out.
  • In extreme conditions when your battery is running low and you are unable to charge it, consider conserving battery life:
    • Establish an “on air” time as part of your emergency communications plan with family and friends during which you power up your wireless device to take calls or messages during designated times.
    • Turn off background data applications or wi-fi search services if you have a wireless device that is capable of these communications. (Note that your device will not receive alerts while data is turned off.)

Verizon Wireless is again working with GEMA’s Ready Georgia campaign to educate consumers about how best to prepare for severe weather emergencies. To further help you stay connected during an emergency, Verizon Wireless and Ready Georgia are giving you seven chances to win a Mophie Juice Pack™ Powerstation that lets you charge a range of devices on the go. Visit and like www.facebook.com/ReadyGA for details on how to win as well as preparedness tips and other updates year-round.

Kate Jay is public relations manager for the Georgia/Alabama Region of Verizon Wireless.

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Just before the polar vortex struck Georgia, one of the most common sights on the news was footage of grocery store shoppers stocking up on food. Preparing food in expectation of severe weather is important, but in this case, many of the items in people’s carts didn’t seem ideal given the weather situation. Based on customer shopping trends, bread, milk and eggs appeared to be the “snack of choice” this week – and while those foods are fine to have, they’re not going to get you very far in an emergency. If your home loses power for a week, you’re probably not going to be reaching for the milk carton.

Instead of focusing on the ingredients for French toast, prioritize non-perishable items and water for your emergency supplies. You should be prepared to keep the members of your household supplied for at least 72 hours after an emergency. If you were stranded after an ice storm without power for that long, would you have enough food and water to survive?

Here’s a handy list of items to consider that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water or special preparation:

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and a can opener
  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Peanut butter
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Crackers
  • Canned juices
  • Non-perishable pasteurized milk
  • Vitamins
  • Food for infants
  • Comfort/stress foods, like chips or chocolate

There are a variety of recipe ideas online for meals made of non-perishable foods that do not require electricity, including these from the American Public Health Association. Of course, you will want to factor in any special dietary needs for family members and pack food for your pets as well.

If you want to cook without power, remember that charcoal grills and camp stoves are for outdoor use only. The same goes for portable generators. If you plan on using a gasoline-powered generator to power kitchen appliances or other items, it’s absolutely critical to keep it outside, away from doors, windows and vents. Never use generators inside homes, garages, crawl spaces, or other partially enclosed areas, as this could lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide in your home, which could be fatal. Click here for more information about generator safety.

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