This year… February 3rd – 7th is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Georgia. It is a week for all Georgians to consider the impact of severe weather and to have a plan mapped out in case they are faced with what could potentially be dangerous consequences.
Each day of the week will focus on a topic dealing with severe weather:
During the week… The Chatham Emergence Management Agency (CEMA) will encourage all Chatham County residents to prepare:
_ Set up a Twitter and Facebook account and follow ChathamEMA in order to receive important alerts when emergencies happen or disaster strikes; if you don't already have a Twitter account text to 40404 and in the body of the message type follow ChathamEMA and hit send
_ Sign up to receive email alerts from CEMA; sign up at www.ChathamEmergency.org
_ Learn how to text in case you need to summon help and you can't get a call out on your cell phone
_ Check your flashlights in your home and make sure they have working batteries
_ Put a roadside assistance kit in your car
_ Put a pocketsize first aid kit in your purse or briefcase
_ Teach your children how to use 911
_ Write down important contact numbers on a notepad in case your cell phone dies and you need to call someone
_ Figure out where you put your important documents to include social security cards and insurance papers and move them to a safe and collective location
_ Check your smoke detector batteries
_ Look under your kitchen sink to see what types of hazardous chemicals you have and whether or not you are properly storing the items
_ Clean up your yard; this is good protection from the storm season as well cleaning overgrown brush can prevent the spread of fire
Severe Weather Awareness Week is also a time when CEMA reminds residents they are probably more prepared than they think. Residents should think about how connected they are and it's likely that most are on social media sites to include Facebook and Twitter. During an emergency… those sites are excellent ways for people to let others know they are ok. Residents can also gather supplies for an emergency kit including items they may be able to find in their home. Finally residents should think about the "what ifs" and make a plan regarding what they would do if severe weather threatens. They can start by thinking of people they would want to get in touch with if something happens… know what they would do if there was a tornado warning… and where they would meet up with family members after an emergency.
This week is also a good time to learn about Chatham County's Emergency Outdoor Warning Siren System. Currently there are 60 sirens… which cover 95% of the county. The outdoor warning sirens are used to notify people about hazards such as explosions and tornadoes that would require them to take action. When activated for adverse weather… CEMA uses a technology that sounds the sirens for only those specific locations that the National Weather Service places under a tornado warning.
They say practice makes perfect, so why not practice a plan that could save your life. As part of Severe Weather Awareness Week… the National Weather Service will conduct the Statewide Tornado Drill February 5, 2014.
The Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) will sound the Outdoor Emergency Warning Siren System next Wednesday at 9:00AM to signal the beginning of the statewide drill. The sirens will coincide with the statewide tornado drill… CEMA will not sound the sirens again at noon. The National Weather Service will also issue a Routine Weekly Test on NOAA Weather Radio only. The sirens will sound for three minutes instead of the typical one minute monthly test.
The purpose of the drill is to test people's ability to react quickly during tornadoes or severe weather. Residents should treat the drill as if it were an actual emergency and act as they would if required to take life saving measures.
Should severe weather threaten the area… the make-up day for the drill is Friday February 7.
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