Today marks the second anniversary of the Georgia floods that caused an estimated $500 million worth of damage to some 20,000 homes and businesses, according to a news release by Ready Georgia.
There were at least 10 deaths related to the floods and 17 counties in the state received Federal Disaster Declarations.
In the past month there was a hurricane, an earthquake and tornadoes, proving that disasters can happen without warning.
That's why the state's resource on disaster preparation, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency’s (GEMA) Ready Georgia campaign encourages all Georgians to have a plan in place in the event of potentially catastrophic storms. There is also a new mobile app to help in that plan.
GEMA and the Georgia Department of Public Health have partnered to create the new Ready Georgia mobile app that allows users to prepare, plan and stay informed of emergencies.
The app is available for both iPhone and Android phones and provides up-to-the-minute weather and hazard alerts based on a user’s location, to customizable emergency preparedness checklists.
“A recent survey revealed that 64 percent of all Georgia households are now either somewhat or fully prepared with a Ready kit of emergency supplies and a communications plan in place; however, there is still progress to be made,” said Charley English, director of GEMA and Homeland Security.
In addition to the app, here are some tips to prepare for the unexpected. Start with an emergency kit of supplies and a full tank of gas in case the electricity goes out and an evacuation is needed. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find.
- Water: at least three gallons per person for drinking and sanitation
- Food: at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Manual can opener if kit contains canned food
- Battery-powered or hand crank NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Face mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Local maps
- Specific items for children, family members’ special needs or pets
- Cash or travelers checks
- Important documents in a waterproof container
- Blankets and warm clothes
- Be sure every family member knows important phone numbers for schools, offices, home and emergency services.
- Identify several places you could take shelter during an emergency: a friend's home in another town or a motel. In times of emergency, a list of open shelters can be found on GEMA’s Web site.
- Map out evacuation routes in case you are ordered to evacuate
- Know your insurance policies and whether your home is in a flood zone.
- Find out what type of disasters could occur and how you should respond.
- Learn your community's warning signals and evacuation plans.
- Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify severe weather, such as advisories, watches and warnings.
- Monitor NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, television and the Internet to stay informed of severe weather conditions.
Visit the Ready Georgia Web site to learn more on how to prepare for emergencies and the mobile app.