Seventy-seven percent of Georgians say they are “somewhat prepared” for a weather emergency, and Columbia County officials rate their community as being in very good shape to respond to a disaster.
“We have a very high rate of preparedness,” said Pam Tucker, director of the Columbia County Emergency Services Division.
“We actually meet and succeed the Storm Ready certification. If anything happens, our county government is extremely prepared.”
Families and businesses may not be totally prepared for disaster, Tucker said, but today’s technology and constant access to information allow citizens to at least be knowledgeable on how to be prepared.
“I would be totally shocked if there is anybody who didn’t know in the event of an emergency where they should go in their homes or what to do,” she said.
Most individuals know where they should hide during a tornado, but citizens should learn to be prepared for more localized emergencies, such as two or more days with a heat index of 105 degrees or higher.
Tucker said the county has cooling centers open all summer. Other extreme weather situations include tropical storms and pop-up thunderstorms, she said. Her advice is to listen for warnings and information.
“Buy a NOAA radio so you can be aware that these things are coming,” she said. “If you have the warnings, you can get inside.”
Other preparations include designating a safe room and developing a supply kit.
“The goal is that nobody in this county loses their life due to severe weather and emergencies,” Tucker said. “It is lofty? Yes. But it is obtainable.”
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency survey released last month followed a campaign started in 2008 that was designed to educate and motivate Georgians to prepare for a disaster.
Although most in the state claim to be somewhat prepared, a 22-percent increase from 2007, many people still lack fundamental preparations for an emergency.
Sixty-seven percent of Georgians do not own a weather radio, 61 percent do not have extra prescription medications, and 63 percent do not have a family meeting place or “reconnection plan.”