Weather warnings should be taken seriously

Late last year Clayton County officials said while it has been a little more than five years since a tornado hit the county, Georgians have faced their fair share of severe, and downright deadly, weather in recent years.

Back in September local emergency officials were encouraging residents to prepare themselves for threatening weather.

This week’s weather warnings brought attention to that need once again.

Fortunately things did not get that bad this time.

However, weather warnings should always be taken seriously.

Whether it is a flood, tornado or something like this winter’s crippling ice storm, residents can never be too cautious.

Families need to be prepared for the worst at the spur of a moment.

Last fall during National Preparedness Week local officials educated people about the importance of being ready in the event of all types of severe and unpredictable weather.

Disasters can strike quickly, often with little warning.

A few simple steps such as creating a disaster supply kit, having a family disaster plan and staying informed during bad weather can go a long way toward keeping us safe.

Families are urged to prepare for severe weather by assembling a “ready kit.”

The kits are designed to have materials needed to survive severe weather and to begin rebuilding lives afterwards.

It’s generally recommended the kits include three-day supplies of water and non-perishable food, a first aid kit, a radio, a flashlight, a whistle, prescription medicine, baby and pet supplies if the family has infants or pets, paper, pencils and important documents.

Food and water supplies can be especially crucial when people are stranded for days after a disaster.

It has been advised that individuals should have one gallon of water per family member for each day stored away. For a family of four, that can amount to 12 gallons of water for a three-day wait.

Three days is viewed as a general time frame during which first responders may not be able to get to some people after a large-scale disaster occurs.

It is also suggested that kits include a battery powered phone charger so residents can communicate with public safety officials through text message or smartphone apps, including Facebook and Twitter.

The Clayton County Board of Health Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response will host its Third Annual Clayton County Community Emergency Preparedness Seminar and we encourage our readers to attend. It is a free, public event that will take place Tuesday, May 13 from 8:45 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the National Archives at Atlanta, located at 5780 Jonesboro Road in Morrow.

Perhaps the most important safety measure we can offer is simply to listen and heed all warnings and take the appropriate shelter regardless of how you may think conditions look.

It is always better to err on the side of caution.

— Editor Jim Zachary