GEMA Urges Georgians to Prepare Now for Potential Tornadoes
GEMA’s Ready Georgia campaign offers tips to prepare during Severe Weather Awareness Week
(ATLANTA) – Less than two weeks into 2014 and some Georgians had already experienced a tornado, courtesy of a Jan. 11 twister that unleashed 80 mile per hour winds on Cherokee County. Last year, an EF-3 tornado pummeled Adairsville, killing one, injuring many and damaging numerous homes and businesses.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), tornadoes are the No. 1 severe weather-related killer in Georgia. They have proven to be some of nature’s most violent storms, appearing with little warning and generating wind speeds that can exceed 250 mph. That’s why it’s important to practice how and where to take shelter.
In honor of Tornado Safety Day on Feb. 5 – which is part of Severe Weather Awareness Week and includes a statewide tornado drill – Georgians are encouraged to learn how to prepare for and respond to tornadoes. Here are some tips from GEMA’s Ready Georgia campaign:
- A storm can strike suddenly and it may occur when family members are in different places, so pick a spot where loved ones could gather if a tornado is headed your way. It could be your basement or, if there is no basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.
- If you are in a high-rise building, you may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor. Pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.
- Tornado WATCHES and WARNINGS are issued by NWS. Know what a tornado WATCH and WARNING means:
- 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. Go to safety immediately.
When a Tornado WATCH is Issued
- Monitor NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for the latest weather forecasts, or download the Ready Georgia mobile app.
- Be alert to changing weather conditions. Blowing debris or the sound of an approaching tornado may alert you. Many people say it sounds like a freight train.
When a Tornado WARNING is Issued
- If you are inside, go to a safe place and protect yourself from glass and other flying objects. The tornado may be approaching your area.
- If you are outside, hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy building or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area and use your arms to protect your head.
- If you are in a car or mobile home, get out immediately and head for safety.
After the Tornado Passes
- Watch out for fallen power lines and stay out of the damaged area.
- Listen to the radio for information and instructions.
- Use a flashlight to inspect your home for damage.
- Do not use candles at any time.
For more information on how to prepare for severe weather visit, www.ready.ga.gov or www.srh.noaa.gov/ffc or download Ready Georgia’s free mobile app. To learn about specific risks in your area, contact your local emergency management agency.
# # #
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.