Hurricane Preparedness Week educates residents about actions to reduce the effects of disastrous storms
(ATLANTA) – With the start of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season just days away, now is the time for all Georgia residents to prepare for the effects of a major storm. Hurricanes can cause catastrophic destruction even hundreds of miles inland, but residents can dramatically reduce their risk of harm by taking action now.
“It is important to be proactive and take simple steps to prepare for hurricanes,” said Charley English, director of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA). “Learn your flood risk, create a Ready kit for your home and car, and develop an evacuation and family communications plan.”
Storms that form in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico have the potential to bring storm surge, high winds, tornadoes and inland flooding across Georgia. In an effort to educate residents on these potential hazards, GEMA’s Ready Georgia campaign supports National Hurricane Preparedness Week, running May 25 through May 31.
In addition, the Hurricane Preparedness Week website is packed with educational information about the potentially violent storm system. The week begins with an observation of the history and basics of hurricanes on Sunday, May 25, followed by a focus on these storm’s most dangerous threats and how to prepare.
· Monday, May 26: Storm Surge—Responsible for the greatest number of hurricane fatalities, storm surge is water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of winds swirling around a hurricane. Water weighs approximately 1,700 pounds per cubic yard, so extended pounding by frequent waves can demolish any structure not specifically designed to withstand such forces. Storm surge flooding can extend far inland.
· Tuesday, May 27: High Winds—Hurricanes can produce high winds that add to a storm's destructive power. Hurricane-force winds can easily destroy poorly constructed buildings and mobile homes. The strongest winds usually occur in the right side of the eyewall of the hurricane. Wind speed usually decreases significantly within 12 hours after landfall. However, winds can stay above hurricane strength well inland.
· Wednesday, May 28: Inland Flooding—Inland flooding can be a major threat to communities hundreds of miles from Georgia’s coast, as some of the greatest rainfall amounts occur from storms that drift slowly or stall over an area.
· Thursday, May 29: Forecast Process—Staying informed about hurricane forecasts is critical to being prepared for these threats. In forecasting, a hurricane watch means hurricane conditions, with sustained winds greater than 73 mph, are possible in your area within 48 hours. A hurricane warning means hurricane conditions are expected in your area in 36 hours or less.
· Friday, May 30: Get a Plan!—To be fully prepared for hurricane season, every household in Georgia should have a communications plan to reconnect in an emergency and a Ready kit of emergency supplies for both the home and the car in case of evacuation. Don’t forget seniors, people with disabilities and pets. A customized communications plan and Ready kit checklist can be created at www.ready.ga.gov, where a list of basic supplies is also available.
· Saturday, May 31: Take Action—Whether you live on the coast or far inland, take action to prepare for hurricanes and their hazards by developing a family disaster plan and evacuation route. Know how you will leave if you are advised to evacuate and where you will go. Download the Ready Georgia mobile app to see Atlantic evacuation routes.
According to research conducted by Ready Georgia, 69 percent of Georgians do not know designated evacuation routes from their community, and 67 percent have not arranged a family meeting place or reconnection plan.
In an effort to help residents prepare for hurricanes and other emergencies, the Ready Georgia campaign provides online tools to make a disaster supply kit, develop a tailored communications plan and stay informed about potential threats. Children’s games and activities can be found on the ReadyKids page, and households with pets or elderly or disabled family members will find specific information on preparing for severe weather.
For preparedness on the go, families can download Ready Georgia’s free mobile app to learn how to prepare for emergencies, create family communications plans and more. More than 45,000 Georgians have already downloaded the app, which turns an iPhone or Android smartphone into an invaluable preparedness tool by alerting users to severe weather in their areas, as well as providing a list of Ready kit supplies and even local shelter locations in the wake of a disaster.
For more information on how to prepare for severe weather visit, www.ready.ga.gov or download the Ready Georgia mobile app. To learn about specific risks in your area, contact your local emergency management agency.