Southern Crescent residents urged to prepare for bad weather

Hurricane could spawn tornadoes

McDONOUGH — Henry and Clayton county residents are being urged to be prepared for possible severe weather this week as Hurricane Isaac hurls toward New Orleans as a Category 2 storm.

Metro Atlanta residents may be out of the path of this storm but emergency management personnel said it is best to always be prepared for severe weather. Clayton Fire and Emergency Services Chief Jeff Hood and Henry Fire Capt. Sabrina Puckett offered tips to help residents in both counties be better prepared for bad weather.

“Although we have breathed a sigh of relief here in Henry County, there is still potential for significant weather to reach us,” said Puckett. “Wind speeds are not expected to be a threat in our area. However, we must remain on alert for flooding and tornadoes.”

Weather officials said the highest threat for tornadoes is expected to be south of I-20 starting Tuesday and extending into Wednesday.

With Clayton and Henry mostly avoiding the wrath of Isaac, Puckett said those in harm’s way are not forgotten.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who remain in the path of Isaac’s potential devastation,” she said.

To prepare for bad weather, first, residents should know their risk.

“Check the weather forecast regularly and sign up for alerts from your local emergency management officials,” said Puckett. “Severe weather comes in many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.”

Second, think ahead to what items will be needed if utilities are lost. A battery-powered or hand-cranked radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with a tone alert and extra batteries are a vital part of being prepared, she said.

Residents should also have a whistle to signal for help, a dust mask to filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place, moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation, wrench or pliers to turn off utilities and local maps.

Also important are an extra set of car and house keys, bottled water and non-perishable food, child care supplies and necessary medications and credit cards, checkbook, ATM card and cash, said Hood.

If electricity is lost, having a cell phone solar charger can help keep lines of communications open.

“Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week or longer,” said Puckett. “Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.”

With supplies in place, families need to form a plan of action in case of an emergency.

“Your family may not be together when disaster strikes,” said Hood. “Make a plan today. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.”

Finally, share emergency preparedness information with others.

“Once you’ve taken action, tell your family, friends, school staff and co-workers about how they can prepare,” said Puckett. “Share the resources and alert systems you’ve discovered with your social media network. When you go to a shelter during a warning, send a text, tweet or post a status update so your friends and family know.”

For more information on being prepared, access www.ready.ga.gov.