The Calm After the Storm

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.