Preparedness Key to Safety During Hurricane Season | Environment
Imagine a hurricane making landfall on Georgia’s coastline, with winds 150 mph or greater causing terrible damage. The tropical cyclone spawns several tornadoes as it moves inland and heavy rains cause major flooding. High winds also persist resulting in uprooted trees and down power lines.
Even though the Atlanta-Fulton County area is over 230 miles from the Georgia and Florida Coastline, a tropical cyclone has the ability to produce high winds, floods, and tornadoes that can affect the Metro Atlanta region. That is why the Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency Management Agency wants to remind everyone that now is the time to make preparations so that you can protect your family, your home and your business in the event that a tropical system threatens our area. Residents and visitors should stay informed of the latest information during an approaching storm by monitoring a trusted local information outlet, and knowing when to put your family disaster plan into action. The best way for residents to make their families, homes and businesses safer is to be prepared before a disaster happens.
Before Severe Weather Arrives
Build an Emergency Supply Kit which includes items like non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries.
- Develop a Family Emergency Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
- Continually monitor the media – Be aware of storms which could impact your area.
- Know how you will be warned in an emergency (NOAA Weather radios with a tone alert are a good option).
- Ensure your home is ready - Elevate items in the basement that could be flooded. Bring in outdoor items such as toys, patio furniture, garbage cans, etc. which could be blown around and damaged. Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage.Know how to shut off utilities, including power, water and gas, to your home. Have proper tools (i.e. wrench) ready and nearby.
- Find out what types of events and kinds of damages are covered by your insurance policy. Keep insurance policies, important documents and other valuables in a safe and secure location.
- Property insurance does not typically cover hurricane or flood damage. Talk to your insurance provider about your policy to consider additional coverage. Visit FloodSmart.gov for information on the National Flood Insurance Program.
- Keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure everyone knows how to use them.
During Severe Weather
- Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of lightning or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.
- Blowing debris or the sound of an approaching tornado may alert you. Tornado danger signs include dark, almost greenish sky; large hail; a large, dark, low-lying clouds or a loud roar, similar to a freight train.
- Follow shelter or evacuation requests made by officials or announcements on radio/television.
- Gather family members, bring pets indoors and have your emergency supply kit ready.
- Close outside doors and window blinds, shades or curtains. Stay away from doors, windows and exterior walls. Stay in your shelter location until the danger has passed.
- During lightning, do not use wired telephones, touch electrical appliances or use running water. Cordless or cellular telephones are safe to use.
- Remember the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
- If it has been raining hard for several hours or steadily raining for several days, be alert to the possibility of flash flooding.
- Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths. Six inches of swiftly moving water can knock you off your feet.
- Stay indoors and limit travel to only absolutely necessary trips. Listen to the radio/television for updates.
After Severe Weather
- Stay off roads to allow emergency crews to clear roads and provide emergency assistance.
- Help injured or trapped persons. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury.
- Use the telephone only for emergencies.
- Use care around downed power lines. Assume a downed wire is a live wire. Report to emergency authorities.
- Watch out for overhead hazards such as broken tree limbs, wires and other debris. Be cautious walking around.
- Be aware of children playing outdoors and in the streets, particularly climbing on or running around downed trees and wires. Parents should remind their children to stay away from these hazards.
- Avoid walking into flood waters. The water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewerage, contain downed power lines or animals.
- Look for hazards such as broken/leaking gas lines, damaged sewage systems, flooded electrical circuits, submerged appliances and structural damage. Leave the area if you smell gas or chemical fumes.
- Clean everything that gets wet. For food, medicine and cosmetics; when in doubt, throw it out.
- Make sure backup generators are well ventilated. Never use grills, generators or camping stoves indoors.
- Listen to media reports and/or local authorities about whether your community water supply is safe to drink and other instructions.
- Make sure gutters and drains are clear for future rain/flood events.
- Take photographs/videos of damage as soon as possible. Contact your insurance company to file a claim.
To help families prepare for emergencies, the Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency Management Agency is urging residents to turn to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security’s (GEMA) Ready Georgia campaign.
Ready Georgia offers the tools needed to make an emergency supply kit, develop a communications plan and stay informed about potential threats. Visitors to the campaign’s website, www.ready.ga.gov, can create an online profile to receive a tailored plan for the entire family that includes the specific amount of supplies to put in their household Ready kits. They can also find local emergency contact information and learn about Georgia-specific disasters. Children’s games and activities can be found on the ReadyKids page, and households with elderly or disabled family members and pets will also find specific information on preparing for severe weather. For preparedness on the go, download the Ready Georgia mobile app.
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