‘Tis the Season to Prepare: GEMA Urges Emergency Preparedness and Hosts Holiday Giveaway to Promote Winter Weather Awareness
The holiday shopping season has begun, and as Georgians hit the stores looking for gifts, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA) is encouraging them to also shop for cold weather emergency supplies during Winter Weather Awareness Week, which runs through Friday.
The National Weather Service refers to winter storms as “deceptive killers” because most deaths are indirectly related to the weather. Instead, people die in traffic accidents on icy roads and of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold. Most residents still remember the winter storm in January 2011 that shut down transportation in parts of the state for five days, eventually affecting 70
percent of Georgia.
“Snow can be a lot of fun and can create some beautiful scenery in Georgia, but it also has the potential to knock out power and communications services and make the roads dangerous,” said GEMA Director Charley English. “Preparing for winter weather is simple, inexpensive and
important because it can help you avoid potentially life-threatening situations.”
As extra incentive to help residents get prepared, GEMA’s
Ready Georgia campaign is hosting a giveaway on its blog. All Georgia residents who read the “Are You Ready for Winter?” post and answer the question in the comments will be entered into a drawing to win one of six NOAA weather radios, as well as the grand prize: a two-night stay at Lake Blackshear Resort & Golf Club and a weather radio. The contest ends at midnight on Dec. 16.
In addition, Ready Georgia offers these tips to help residents prepare, plan and stay informed about severe winter weather:
Prepare a Ready Kit of Emergency Supplies
- Prepare a Ready kit of emergency supplies for your home and car. Include a three-day supply of nonperishable food, water, a flash light with extra
batteries, a NOAA Weather Radio, adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm, as well as additional supplies for the unique needs of your family, such as medication.
- Ensure proper home insulation by placing weather stripping around doors and windows, allowing faucets to drip during cold weather to prevent freezing and
opening cabinet doors to let heat reach uninsulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
- Winterize your vehicle and keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent your fuel line from freezing.
Create a Winter Weather Plan
- Plan to stay inside, if necessary, for at least three days. If trapped outside during severe winter try to stay dry, cover all body parts, periodically move limbs to keep blood circulating and, if possible, build a fire.
- Avoid traveling by car in icy conditions. If you must go out and do get stuck, stay with your car. Leave the overhead lights on when the engine is running so you can be seen.
- Plan for pets to come inside and store adequate food and water for them.
- Create an emergency communications plan so family members will know who to contact if separated during a storm. Designate at least one out-of-town contact that all family members can call.
Stay Informed about Winter Weather
- Listen to a NOAA weather radio and monitor commercial radio, television and the Internet to stay informed of winter weather.
- Learn about the terms used to describe winter hazards such as freezing rain, sleet, winter weather advisory, winter storm watch and winter storm warning.
- Know the symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite occurs when your body tissue freezes. Your extremities may have a white or pale appearance and
may lose feeling. The most susceptible areas of your body are the fingers, toes, earlobes, or the tip of your nose. Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature falls below 95 degrees. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and exhaustion. If you suspect you have frostbite or hypothermia, get medical attention