As people along the East Coast ride out Hurricane Sandy, many Georgians are likely sighing in relief for being spared from the massive storm. But what if Sandy had struck here? Would Georgia residents have been ready?
A hurricane doesn’t have to make landfall on the coast to disrupt your life. Inland hazards associated with tropical storms and hurricanes include strong winds that down trees and power lines, heavy rain, flooding and tornadoes. As the nation waits to see what effect Sandy will have on the Eastern Seaboard, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency’s Ready Georgia campaign encourages Georgians to takes steps now to prepare for the next time severe weather heads this way. And that means being ready to survive for 72 hours following a large-scale emergency. Unfortunately, a recent Ready Georgia survey reveals that only 38 percent of Georgians believe they need to be prepared to survive on their own for that timeframe.
Here are some tips for how to get ready:
- Plan an evacuation route out of your neighborhood and identify a place to take shelter.
- Prepare a portable Ready kit of emergency supplies in case you lose electricity or have to evacuate, including a first aid kit and three-day supply of food and water. Add specific items for children, family members with special needs or pets and keep important documents in a waterproof container.
- Secure your property, cover all windows with pre-cut ply wood or hurricane shutters and add support to garage doors to protect them from high winds.
· Know your insurance policies and whether your home is in a flood zone.
- Follow the instructions of emergency officials, and know the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning: a hurricane watch means a hurricane is possible in your area; a hurricane warning means a hurricane is expected in your area.
- If you are not able to evacuate, stay indoors away from all windows. Take shelter in an interior room with no windows if possible. Be aware that there may be a sudden lull in the storm as the eye of the hurricane moves over. Stay in your shelter until local authorities say it is safe.
- Local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should listen to NOAA Weather Radio, watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet often for official news and instructions as they become available.
- Stay alert for tornadoes and flooding, which often accompany hurricanes.
Don’t wait until the next hurricane arrives – and grocery store and gas station lines are jammed – to get ready. Take steps now to prepare for the unexpected. Knowing likely risks for your area – from wildfires to earthquakes to tornadoes – and knowing what to do when a disaster strikes is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds matter.
For more information, visit www.ready.ga.gov. For preparedness on the go, families can also download Ready Georgia’s free mobile app. For more information about specific risks in your area, contact your local emergency management agency.