With the chance of severe weather increasing as spring nears, Columbia County and state officials want residents to be prepared and know how to protect themselves.
Severe Weather Awareness Week, proclaimed by Gov. Sonny Perdue, begins Monday and will highlight all the information a family needs to stay safe during storms, tornadoes or other extreme or abnormal weather conditions.
The week of statewide and local events begins Monday with Family Protection Day. Rusty Welsh, the deputy director of Columbia County's Emergency Management Agency, said the day is for families to discuss, plan, prepare and rehearse emergency measures they would use during the first 72 hours of a local disaster.
"Everybody needs to be prepared," Welsh said.
Residents should know what types of severe weather events are likely to occur in the area and prepare with phone numbers, emergency procedures and supplies. Every home should have a disaster kit to include a three-day supply of water and food for each family member, clothing and sleeping bags, medications and a first aid kit, batteries and emergency tools such as a flashlight and NOAA weather radio.
Though tornadoes can occur at any time of the year, officials say the peak season for tornadoes in the southern states is from March to May.
On Wednesday, all Columbia County schools and government offices, and many nursing homes, day care centers and other businesses will participate in a statewide tornado drill.
Welsh said the county's Emergency Services office, on Ronald Reagan Drive in Evans, will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday for residents to tour the Emergency Operations Center, the command center and the Mobile Operations Center. Preparedness information will be available. Welsh said he and the department's staff including Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker will be available to answer questions.
For more information, call (706) 868-3303.
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