Friday 10:46am
November 28, 2014
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Posted: Tuesday, April 29th 2014 at 4:50pm

With more severe weather predicted, GEMA, Red Cross urge preparedness

By Ken Stanford Staff
EMAIL STORY CONTACT EDITOR PRINT
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With another round of severe storms expected to enter Georgia this evening and overnight, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA) and the American Red Cross are urging Georgians to continue to stay weather-aware and prepare.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the primary threats for this system include damaging winds, flooding, hail and even an isolated tornado.

Georgians should stay informed about tonight's round of severe storms by monitoring their local media for the latest forecast. Also, be sure to have several ways to receive weather alerts, including a NOAA Weather Radio. NOAA Weather Radio is a nationwide network of radio stations dedicated to broadcasting continuous weather information directly from a nearby NWS office. It is the best way to hear watches and warnings from NWS, even if they are issued in the middle of the night. They can be purchased at most big-box retailers, electronics stores, even grocery stores. Prices vary from $30 up, depending on the model.

Visit GEMA’s Ready Georgia website to find information needed to create a disaster supply kit, develop a tailored communications plan and stay informed about the potential threats associated with this system. In addition, families can access children’s games and activities, while households with pets or elderly or disabled family members will find specific information on preparing for severe weather.

For preparedness on the go, download Ready Georgia’s free mobile app, which turns your iPhone or Android smartphone into an invaluable tool by providing mobile access to weather alerts, preparedness information, and even local shelter locations in the wake of a disaster.

To date, this system has produced an EF-2 tornado, which cut a 4-mile path through Troup and Heard counties. (See separate story.) In addition, one person died as a result of a single-car accident where weather was a factor.

The state operations center remains open with personnel from various state and volunteer agencies coordinating the state's response to requests for assistance from local governments on a 24-hour basis.

To learn how to prepare for disaster and create a custom kit and plan, visit www.ready.ga.gov or download the free Ready Georgia app. For specific risks in your community, contact your local emergency management agency.

RED CROSS TORNADO, FLOOD SAFETY

The American Red Cross Northeast Georgia chapter has safety steps people can follow and urges everyone in the path of this storm to get prepared now.

The storm system is expected to bring heavy rains, damaging winds, large hail and the possibility of more tornadoes to the Gulf Coast, Southeast, Ohio and Tennessee Valleys and Mid-Atlantic regions through Wednesday. Some regions could see as much as 5 inches of rain which could cause flooding in some areas.

“This storm is dangerous. People should pay attention to their local media and stay informed,” said Joni Smith, Executive Director of Northeast Georgia Red Cross. “We have a list of steps people can take to help them stay safe.”

TORNADO SAFETY People should know how their community will warn them about the storm. Other steps include the following:

Download the Red Cross tornado app onto mobile devices. People can use the app’s “I’m Safe” button to let loved ones know they are okay and find the location of Red Cross shelters. The app also includes a siren and warning alert that signals when a tornado warning has been issued, as well as an all-clear alert that lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or been cancelled.

Pick a place where family members can gather - the basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.

Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.

Watch for tornado danger signs – dark, greenish clouds, a cloud of debris, large hail, a funnel cloud or roaring noise.

Mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes or severe winds. If there is access to a sturdy shelter or vehicle, abandon the mobile home immediately and go to that facility. Do not wait until the tornado is in view.

If someone is caught outdoors, they should seek shelter in a basement or sturdy building. If they can’t do that, they should get into a vehicle, buckle their seat belt and drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If flying debris occurs, they should pull over and park, stay in the vehicle with their head down below the windows, covering their head.

Once you are certain your household is safe, check in on neighbors, friends and family to ensure they are safe and have everything they need. It is particularly helpful to check in on those who are elderly and/or have functional or access needs to ensure they are safe and well.

Stay informed about the moving weather system and share information and preparedness tips with those that live nearby.

FLOODING SAFETY If flooding is possible, people should be prepared to evacuate if ordered. Otherflooding safety steps are:

Pack a disaster kit including a three-day supply of water and non-perishable food for each person in the household and items such as a flashlight and batteries, a first aid kit, medications,sanitation and personal hygiene items, cell phones and chargers, extra cash and copies of important papers.

Download the Red Cross flood app for mobile devices. One-touch “I’m safe” messaging allows users to let family and friends know that they are out of harm’s way. The app gives simple instructions on what to do even if cell towers and television reception are down and lets people locate open shelters. Users can also receive NOAA flood and flash flood watches and warnings.

If a flood or flash flood warning is issued for someone’s area, they should head for higher ground and stay there.

Stay away from floodwaters whether walking or driving

Keep children out of the water.

Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

Share preparedness information with neighbors, friends and family to help them stay safe.

Once you are certain your household is safe, check in on neighbors, friends and family to ensure they are safe and have everything they need. It is particularly helpful to check in on those who are elderly and/or have functional or access needs to ensure they are safe and well.

More safety information can be found at www.redcross.org.


Associated Categories: Local/State News

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