Are you prepared for hurricane season? Get Ready today.

Jon Wetherbee, WTOC-TV meteorologist from Savannah, is helping Ready Georgia increase awareness about the importance of preparing for the upcoming hurricane season. With Hurricane Preparedness Week taking place May 27 – June 2, he’s provided tips to help both coastal and inland residents get ready for hurricane threats and hazards. Although he describes ways to prepare for hurricanes, these tips are helpful for everyone and any unexpected emergencies too. 

Plan and prepare. Nearly two-thirds of Georgians are at least somewhat or fully prepared, but there’s still more work to do! With our state’s beautiful summer weather and your busy summer schedule, it doesn’t seem urgent to get ready for a disaster today. However, an entire generation of Georgians has no personal experience with hurricanes, making them complacent about preparing.

So how can I get you to think ahead about hurricanes?

Pictures of Katrina, the Floyd floods evacuation and Hurricane Hugo in Charleston are the best reminders of the possibilities, and the realities, of the tropical season.  It’s not a question of IF, but WHEN you need to get prepared. And when should be today.

Maybe this fun exercise that we do in my family might help yours.

Prepare first by deciding what items you need to take with you in your Ready kit. Walk around your house to collect an inventory of any household items that you can use during an emergency.

Then practice an evacuation plan by assuming that a real disaster is headed your way. That’s right. Get out of harm’s way by planning where you would go to reach safety. Whether you decide to stay with family closer inland or travel farther out toward regions like North Georgia or outside the state.

Our family assessed our mini-van to identify where our Ready kits could be stored. We knew there was no way that everything we wanted to take would possibly fit in our kits, so we had to consider the basic items, along with unique items, that each one of our family members would need in case of an emergency such as one gallon of water per person for three days, canned food, a can opener, a flashlight, a whistle, a NOAA Weather Radio and more.

Then we created a family communications plan that listed phone numbers, insurance contacts, medications, important papers and contracts.  Add these items in your Ready kit also and share the information with your out-of-town emergency contacts and/or neighbors so that they’ll be able to easily help you and your family during an emergency, if necessary.

I encourage you to create a Ready kit and make a family communications plan now before a storm is churning toward you and you have to make difficult decisions. I can assure you that you’ll be glad that you took these potentially life-saving steps to protect yourself and your family. Plus, it’s a simple task and takes very little time.

Now we have our Ready kit, family communications plan and know what to do if a hurricane strikes our region this season, and we can do it fast. Knowing that we are prepared gives me peace of mind because my family will know how to respond to any emergency if we are ever separated.

The three emergency preparedness steps – prepare, plan and stay informed – have helped prevent panic for me and my family during an emergency. Now it’s your turn to get ready for the unexpected! Remember: Don’t wait to practice these potentially life-saving steps. Make someday today.