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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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One Response to “If severe weather rolls in, are you ready?”

  1. m88 says:

    Tornadoes are a natural phenomenon very scary if it moves into a residential area, perhaps it’s time the device needs to have a tornado warning on the national level.