Severe Weather Awareness Week, February 3-9: Day 1, Family Preparedness

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Those of us who have lived in Cherokee County have many memories of severe weather events here.  Some of our worst storms have occurred in February and March in recent years.

This week marks National Severe Weather Awareness Week.  What is the purpose of this week?  According to the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, “Severe Weather Awareness Week is designed to provide information about the types of sever weather that affect Georgia and what to do in the event that severe weather occurs.”  To explore interesting statistics and historical data about severe weather in North Georgia, be sure to check out the Severe Storm Climatology Page

A statewide tornado drill will be held on Wednesday, February 6, 2008.  This week would be a great opportunity to review tornado drill procedures with your teachers so that you know what to do in the event of a tornado in our area while you are at school.

Today’s severe weather theme for Sunday, February 3, 2008 is Family Preparedness.  Here is advice from the National Weather Service on how to make sure you and your family are prepared for severe weather:

Families should be prepared for any type of hazard that could affect their area. The best way to do this is to develop a family disaster plan. Here are a few steps your family should consider when developing a family disaster plan:

1. Gather information about hazards.
Contact the National Weather Service office in Peachtree City, the local emergency management office, or an American Red Cross chapter in your area. Find out what type of disasters could occur and how to respond. Also, it is a good idea to learn your community’s warning signals and evacuation plans. 

2. Meet with your family to create a plan.

  • Discuss the information gathered.
  • Pick two places to meet: a spot outside of your home for an emergency such as a fire, and a place outside of your neighborhood in case you can’t return home.
  • Choose an out-of-state friend or relative as a check-in contact for everyone to call if the family gets separated.
  • Finally, discuss what to do if the family is evacuated. 

3. Implement your plan.

  • Post emergency numbers by phones.
  • Install safety features in your home (smoke detectors and fire extinguishers).
  • Inspect your home for potential hazards (look for items that can fall or catch fire) and correct them.
  • Have your family learn basic safety measures, such as how to use a fire extinguisher, and how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity in your home.
  • Teach children how & when to call 911 or another emergency services number.
  • Keep supplies in your home to meet your needs for at least three days.
  • Assemble a disaster supplies kit with items you may need during an evacuation and store the supplies in sturdy containers. This kit should include water, food that won’t spoil, one day of clothing a blanket for each person, a first aid kit, prescription drugs, tools, batteries, a flashlight, and some extra money.
  • Protect any important documents in water proof containers.

 4. Practice and maintain your plan. Quiz your family to make sure they remember meeting places, phone numbers, and safety rules. Conduct practice drills.  

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