Monday marked the beginning of Severe Weather Week and if last week's winter storm wasn't enough to push you into making an emergency kit, maybe the concern about thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes will. At least that's the hope of CEMA (Chatham County Emergency Management Agency.)
Clayton Scott is the director of CEMA and says ironically we got in our practice session last week when icy roads turned dangerous. He says problems and injuries were avoided because many people heeded the warnings. “The most important thing is everybody paid attention to the tweets, to the media, to the Facebook comments, the CEMA alerts and they did what they should have been doing which is stay home and stayed out of it. There is absolutely no reason in the world to go out in that kind of weather.”
Now Scott says this week is “a great opportunity to check what you've got in terms of emergency supplies and shelter plans for your home.”
Whether the event is a severe thunderstorm with wind or a tornado or a hurricane, there are simple things we can do to prepare. “One of the things most important is NOAA weather radio all the stores sell them,” Scott says. “They cost about 30 or 40 dollars. They're really important and you can tune them down to just Chatham County or Effingham County wherever you may like.”
Scott says knowing what's really happening is critical. and so is listening to what leaders ask of you. he says many people staying off the icy roads last week is a good example. “Listen to local officials, listen to the media,” he says.
Scott is hopeful that if severe weather events develop this spring and summer that people are prepared. Where's your safe room, where will you go, do your children know where to do? Is it in fact a safe room, do you have flashlights, do you have a weather radio, do you have batteries for the flashlight, do you have some water in that room. That kind of thing, most of it is pretty common sense,” he says.
On Friday, there will be a statewide tornado drill to mark the importance of a shelter and evacuation plan, especially for educators. Scott says while you plan on how to shelter in your home, it's important to also know evacuation routes out of the area in case you are asked to leave your home due to a hurricane. “CEMA is very aware of the sacrifice of asking people to evacuate, so rest assured we would not do that lightly,” Scott told us. “But if an evacuation order would come, people need to understand it's serious.”