Valdosta Daily Times

February 6, 2014

Preparing for weather

The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — In the wake of last week’s winter storm, that brought Atlanta to a frozen standstill and prompted Gov. Nathan Deal to form a weather task force, comes Georgia’s annual Severe Weather Awareness Week lasting through Friday.

The idea behind the week is to prepare Georgians for weather emergencies and how to keep these situations from becoming tragedies.

It arrives at an ironic time this year given last week’s events, but it’s purpose is driven more by what possibly lies in the months to come.

One of the most important things for all residents to realize is that Georgia is susceptible to almost every kind of weather emergency. These include thunderstorms, high winds, lightning, heavy rains, flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, and in the rare instance, snow.

The Internet is filled with helpful resources for how people can prepare in advance for all types of severe weather. People can prepare emergency kits to deal with the loss of electricity and other utilities; how to handle a coming storm or tornado.

Families can prepare a response plan of where they should meet or how to locate one another in case of a weather situation that strikes when the family members are in different locations.

Know where to go in case one needs to evacuate a home.

Have plenty of canned foods available. In some emergencies, it can take days for workers to restore utilities so have a place available to stay.

Georgians who educate themselves have been shown to be twice as prepared as those who have not taken the time and effort to discuss plans and act upon them in advance.

The ability to be self-sufficient for a few days may also spell the difference between a challenging inconvenience and a catastrophic tragedy.

It’s an idea that Georgia’s residents and state officials should take seriously.