Be prepared for a disaster in 2013 - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Be prepared for a disaster in 2013

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Lisa Griffis Lisa Griffis
Lisa Smith Lisa Smith
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THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) -

As you make your last minute Christmas preparations, one state agency hopes you'll also prepare for disaster.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency is asking all families and businesses to make disaster preparedness one of their 2013 resolutions.

This year alone, Georgians experienced deadly tornadoes, a record-breaking heat wave, and several flash floods.

Nearly seven inches of rain fell in Thomasville on June 6.

"Storms can sneak up on us. Like the other day we had one kind of sneak up on us. Had heavy wind and rains we were not really expecting," said Deputy EMA Director Lisa Griffis.

Emergency officials say every family should have an emergency kit with flashlights, batteries, first aid, and other materials.

And they should check that kit often.

"We check them routinely about once a month. I would make that a minimum of when you check these because again when you need them, you need to make sure they're operational, that they're stocked, and that they are going to be exactly what you need, when you need it," said Lowe's Assistant Store Manager Lisa Smith.

Most counties, like Thomas, have an Emergency Operations Plan that covers more than just hurricanes.

"It's all hazards. It doesn't matter if it's weather, if it's terrorism, if it's a wreck. It encompasses all agencies. It's our guidebook," said Griffis.

Officials say while there are many dangers during a disaster, it's important to be safe after the fact.

They recommend using extreme caution with generators and stay tuned to weather radios.

"Make sure you get an electrician at your house to hook it up properly. They can put off some bad fumes and carbon monoxide poisoning. Don't do it yourself. Don't do it fly by night," said Griffis.

"Knowledge is key to anything. So you know the weather radio, the smoke and carbon monoxide detector, those are information for you. Those are telling you, you know we have a problem," said Smith.

Officials say it's important always to keep the area around house your clear.

This means cutting trees back and removing debris because you never know when a disaster will happen.

According to a survey conducted by GEMA this year, only 38 percent of Georgians believe they need to be prepared to survive for the recommended 72 hours following a large-scale emergency.

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