Don’t Wait Until Hurricane Strikes to Begin Preparing
Hurricane Preparedness Week educates Georgians about hurricanes and associated hazards
(ATLANTA) – Although Georgians have not taken a direct strike by a hurricane on our coast in recent years, residents statewide are still at risk of indirect severe impacts should a storm make landfall anywhere in our region. With the Atlantic hurricane season starting on June 1, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) urges residents to take the time now to prepare, plan and stay informed about hurricanes.
As a coastal state, 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. In an effort to educate residents on these potential hazards, GEMA’s Ready Georgia campaign supports National Hurricane Preparedness Week running May 27 through June 2.
“Residents of our state’s coastal region aren’t the only ones who are susceptible to the potentially dangerous effects of hurricanes,” said Charley English, director of GEMA/Homeland Security. “These storms can bring strong winds, heavy rain and tornadoes as they progress inland, so it’s important that everyone be prepared. Take the time during Hurricane Preparedness Week to learn basic safety rules and preparation tips so you’re not caught by surprise if a storm makes landfall.”
The Hurricane Preparedness Week website is packed with information about these storm systems. Each day of Hurricane Preparedness Week is devoted to a single aspect of the storms, starting with a hurricane overview on May 27, followed by the storm’s most dangerous threats and how to prepare. Specific observations are:
Sunday, May 27: Basics
Monday, May 28: Storm Surge
Tuesday, May 29: Winds
Wednesday, May 30: Inland Flooding
Thursday, May 31: Forecast Process
Friday, June 1: Get a Plan!
Saturday, June 2: Take Action
Regardless of the seasonal predictions, it only takes one storm to devastate a community. Accordingly, we must be prepared for tropical systems each and every year. Unfortunately, research conducted by Ready Georgia in 2011 reveals that many people have not performed crucial activities that will help them be prepared, such as compiling an emergency kit for the car or purchasing a NOAA Weather Radio to warn of advancing threats. Another 67 percent have not arranged a family meeting place or reconnection plan.
The Ready Georgia website, www.ready.ga.gov, allows users to create a personalized Ready kit checklist and communications plan, making it simple to take those first steps toward being prepared. There is also detailed information about hurricane-related hazards, as well as tips on how to protect your home and find local evacuation routes. For preparedness on the go, families can also download Ready Georgia’s free mobile app. During hurricane season, Ready Georgia advises:
Prepare for Hurricanes
- Compile a portable Ready kit of emergency supplies in case you have to evacuate.
- Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a hurricane. A hurricane watch means a hurricane is possible in your area. A hurricane warning means a hurricane is expected in your area. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, leave immediately.
- Prepare to secure your property.
- Cover all of your home's windows with pre-cut plywood or hurricane shutters to protect your windows from high winds and keep all trees and shrubs well-trimmed.
Plan to Evacuate
- Plan how you will leave and where you will go if you are advised to evacuate.
- Identify several places you could go in an emergency: a friend's home in another town or a motel. For more information about public shelters in your community, contact your local emergency management agency. A list of open shelters can be found on GEMA’s website or on the Ready Georgia mobile app.
- Be familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area.
- Local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should listen to NOAA Weather Radio, watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet often for official news and instructions as they become available.
- Be alert for tornadoes and flooding. If you see a funnel cloud or if local authorities issue a tornado warning, take shelter underground or in an interior room away from windows. If waters are rising quickly or local authorities issue a flood or flash flood warning, seek higher ground.
- Stay away from downed power lines to avoid the risk of electric shock or electrocution.
- Do not return home until local authorities say it is safe. Even after the hurricane and after flood waters recede, roads may be weakened and could collapse. Buildings may be unstable, and drinking water may be contaminated. Use common sense and exercise caution.
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.