Be ready for a disaster - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Be ready for a disaster

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The next thing?  This mass of clouds over the Gulf could be a tropical depression soon. The next thing? This mass of clouds over the Gulf could be a tropical depression soon.
An emergency kit.  A full kit like this one can provide all that a person needs for at least three days. An emergency kit. A full kit like this one can provide all that a person needs for at least three days.
This packet can help to purify water for human consumption. This packet can help to purify water for human consumption.
A full emergency kit.  Available in pieces or in separate pieces. A full emergency kit. Available in pieces or in separate pieces.
Flooding in Vermont.  Some rivers crested at their highest level in more than a century. Flooding in Vermont. Some rivers crested at their highest level in more than a century.

Hurricane Irene dealt a devastating blow to the northeast.  For Julie Miller of Southwest Georgia District Health, it left a big impression.

"I hope that those communities had taken the time to prepare. That those individuals and those families had done what they needed to do for their loved ones," she said.

Irene may have missed Georgia, but she really wasn't that far away.  Only a hundred or so miles to the west, and landfall would have been on Tybee Island instead of the Outer Banks.

Now, there's another system to worry about. Just in time for a possible approach from this system in the Gulf comes National Emergency Preparedness Month.

Julie Miller said, "nationally there's a push to remind people to be prepared."

And that means that it's time to get a plan.  The biggest part of that plan includes a an emergency kit.  A good kit has what you need to survive without any help for three days: "food items, drinking water, a flashlight, a glow stick," said Miller.

Even if you put together your kit at the beginning of the hurricane season, there's still something that you should be doing now.  After all, those batteries that you put in your flashlight won't last forever.

Julie Miller said, "often times, people will leave batteries in a flashlight. We really recommend that they're separate."

A storm like Irene can knock out power for days, so all of those high tech gadgets that we rely on won't work very well.  But there's a more low tech way to make sure that you can have all of your contact information.

"Really encourage people to make sure that's written down.  You know, put it in a little safe area put it in that little kit, in a little zip lock bag."

While Irene had so many negative impacts, she may have had one positive impact.

Julie Miller tells us what it is, "I'm hopeful that they're more aware. I'm hopeful that they're paying more attention."

If people heed the lessons of Irene, then they'll be prepared the next time that the dark clouds gather.

National Preparedness Month was started after the 2001 terror attacks to try to encourage people to prepare for a disaster.  The Ready Georgia web site has a complete list of things you need in a good emergency kit.  Click this link to go there.

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