May 30, 2006
by Alicia Eakin
Valdosta -- With the prediction of nine hurricanes this year, Floridians and South Georgians alike are making sure they're not caught off guard. In Lowndes County, where heavy rains pounded from hurricanes in the past, work is underway to make sure emergency workers can handle anything that happens.
For years, Valdosta crews have stockpiled road signs, sandbags, and barricades. Tools that will be critical if a bad storm hits. "With hurricane season upon us, if our road crews get called out in the middle of the night for storm damage or water on the road, they need to be prepared and have the supplies they need for traffic control and safety," Interim Public Works Director Robin White said.
Taking a look back at previous storms is also a key factor in preventing future problems. "We track the problem areas we've had from storm to storm and we try to do preventative maintenance during the seasons. Then we go respond back when we know there's a storm coming," said White.
They're now in the process of getting together tool kits for the public, educating them how to survive a devastating storm. "You need to make sure you can sustain yourself in your home at least 72 hours if we should get a forecast that will experience bad weather in South Georgia," said Lowndes County Public Information Officer Paige Dukes. "The other thing is during an event listen to local emergency management."
NOAA Radio is one of the best ways to get those emergency forecasts and you can get it for as little as $35.00. If local communications are out, this battery powered radio will keep you informed.
A 24 hour phone bank will be established if a severe storm heads toward the Valdosta area. This Emergency Operations Center will provide information about the storm, supplies needed, and local shelters.