Know Where to Take Shelter From Tornadoes, Georgia’s Deadliest Severe Weather Threat
The third day of Severe Weather Preparedness Week features tips on preparing for tornadoes and a statewide tornado drill
(ATLANTA) – Do you know where to take shelter when a tornado warning is issued? You may have identified your safe place at home, but where would you go if you are at work? Wednesday, Feb. 4, is Tornado Safety Day, and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security’s (GEMA/HS) Ready Georgia campaign encourages all Georgians to take time to identify where they will take shelter if a tornado strikes at home or work.
“Tornadoes can strike Georgia at any time of the year, often with deadly effects” said GEMA/HS Director Jim Butterworth. “Since these storms can develop quickly, it’s imperative to be prepared, have a plan for where to seek shelter and know a tornado’s capabilities before it is bearing down on you.”
According to the National Weather Service, tornadoes are the No. 1 severe weather-related killer in Georgia. They are some of nature’s most violent storms, appearing with little warning and generating wind speeds in excess of 250 mph, so planning and practicing how and where to take shelter could be a matter of survival.
On Wednesday, which is the third day of Severe Weather Preparedness Week, GEMA/HS also urges Georgians to participate in a statewide PrepareAthon! drill for tornado safety and practice their tornado plans.
To participate, listen to your NOAA Weather Radio at around 9 a.m. for the Routine Weekly Test (RWT). This is your cue to begin your drill. There will not be an actual tornado warning issued for the drill and the emergency alert system will not be activated. Tornado sirens will be activated at the discretion of the local authorities. If your NOAA Weather Radio does not sound at the time the RWT is issued, simply start the drill on your own. Next, practice taking cover in your predetermined safe location. The drill is completed when your school, business, organization or family determines tornado sheltering procedures have been adequately exercised.
Here are some additional tornado safety tips from GEMA/HS’s Ready Georgia campaign:
- A storm can strike suddenly and it may occur when family members are in different places, so pick a safe 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, interior 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, put on sturdy shoes and 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 download Ready Georgia’s free mobile app. To learn about specific risks in your area, contact your local emergency management agency.
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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/Homeland Security 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 website, free mobile app, broadcast and print advertising and public awareness media messaging to reach its audiences. Ready Georgia is also on Facebook and YouTube.