Emergency plans for disasters prove essential - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Emergency plans for disaster prove essential

Jim Vaught, EMA 911 Dept. Dir. Jim Vaught, EMA 911 Dept. Dir.

Do you have a survival kit for a disaster, or maybe a plan of action during severe weather? Emergency responders say you should, and hope flooding preparedness week will get out their message.

Heavy rain, flooding, tornadoes, all severe weather that could hit at any moment. Albany is no stranger to weather extremes, and emergency responders want you to be prepared for the worst.

"We would like you to have those things that you feel you need to sustain yourself for 72 hours," said Jim Vaught, Albany EMA 911 Dept. Dir. "Water, non-perishable food, manual can opener, flashlight batteries, radio, change of clothing. Those kinds of things that you put aside that if all the sudden we say, 'hey, it's gonna flood in your area. You need to evacuate,' you can grab that bag, through it in your trunk and go."

Vaught said 95 people across the nation lose their lives each year from flooding. He also said flooding causes national damages of roughly $8 Billion annually. And because flooding is so dangerous, Vaught advises people should come up with a plan.

"Another thing that is very important that people take serious, and that is to sit down with their families and make a plan," he said. "What do you do during an emergency event? Once the event happens it's just too late to do that. So you want to do that ahead of time."

He said the city's Public Works department and flood plain management people work hard to keep waterways clear to prevent flooding, which actually helps reduce flood insurance premiums in the flood prone areas. But he thinks one of the most important tools available to the public is Dougherty County's Code Red Program.

"Code Red use their models and computers to predict the speed, intensity and direction of the path of the storm. And they lay a polygon down across Dougherty County," he said. "And everybody in that polygon is called. Instead of calling everybody in Dougherty County, it calls those people in most immediate danger."

Vaught also urges people to purchase a weather radio, which is available at many electronics stores. The key message he wants to send to residents is: be prepared so you can stay out of harm's way.

For more information about code Red, call Emergency Management Agency at (229) 431-2155 or visit: https://cne.coderedweb.com/Default.aspx?groupid=b8jVdp7z3t6yJFOKo8juuw%3D%3D

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