From the Desk of Towns County Sheriff Christopher M. Clinton:
There are a number of things that each family can do to be prepared for an emergency situation. There are any number of weather events that can create an emergency on a very large scale and for those who are unprepared the consequences can be devastating.
Events such as tornadoes, flooding, winter ice storms, heavy snow, and extreme cold don’t happen all the time, but when they do happen, families can be stranded for days without help. During a major event, it may take rescue workers and utility crews several days to reach certain locations. Tornadoes and winter storms may make roads impassible for long periods of time, in essence, trapping people in their homes and preventing help from getting to them until roads can be cleared. Other events, such as flooding, may require people to evacuate their homes.
Because these types of events can and do happen, there are some things that families should do to be prepared for an emergency. The Georgia Emergency Management Agency offers many tips. The following information is compiled in large part from their recommendations and I believe they are helpful if implemented:
- Families should consider installing safety features in their homes. A NOAA weather radio can alert you to rapidly changing weather conditions and let you know if a serious event is likely. Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers should be in each home.
- Home owners should regularly inspect their home for potential hazards such as items that can fall, break, or catch fire and correct these issues.
- It is a good idea for family members to learn CPR and first aid, as well as how to use a fire extinguisher, or how and when to turn off water, gas, or electricity to the home.
- Children should be taught how and when to call 9-1-1 for help.
- Families should keep enough supplies, including medical supplies and medicines to last for at least three days.
- Families should have a plan and discuss where to go in the home in the event of a severe thunder storm or tornado and what to do in the event of a flood. Children especially need to know and practice this.
- In the event you need to evacuate your home you will need an emergency supply kit. A good kit should include enough water to last three days (one gallon of water per person per day), food that will not spoil, a change of clothes and shoes for each person, a blanket, or sleeping bag for each person, a first aid kit that includes any prescription medications, emergency tools, extra car keys, cash. Infants and disabled persons may need specialty items and they should be included. A kit should be ready to transport in easy to carry containers such as back packs or duffel bags.
While the possibility of experiencing a disaster is unpleasant to consider, having a well-considered, discussed, and practiced plan can make a tremendous difference in the safety of all concerned.
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