Be prepared as severe-weather season starts

Published 6:30 am Friday, February 24, 2012

By MOLLY DUETT

News Intern

Tornadoes are always unexpected and unpredictable. That’s why it is important for people to be aware of how to prepare and handle severe weather situations. Tornado weather season starts in March and runs through May, although there is a chance for tornadoes to appear year round.

In Spring of 2011, a series of tornadoes killed 15 people and injured 143 across Georgia, according to a press release from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA).

“The best way to mitigate the effects of a tornado is to have a plan in place and practice how and where to take shelter,” said Charley English, director of GEMA/Homeland Security.

Decatur County Fire Chief Charlie McCann and the GEMA both recommend investing in a NOAA Weather Radio, first aid kit, and to have a supply of water and food in case of an extensive power outage.

McCann said that citizens need to have a flashlight handy, and advised to never use candles since they are an open-flame and a fire hazard.

It is also stressed by GEMA to people should familiarize themselves with terms to identify tornado hazards.

“A ‘tornado watch’ means a tornado is possible in your area; a ‘tornado warning’ means a tornado has been spotted in your area, and you need to take shelter immediately,” English said.

As part of GEMA’s “Ready Georgia” campaign to inform the public specifics about procedures, they have launched a website and a mobile application to help. The website address is ready.ga.gov.