CEMA encourages residents to prepare for severe storms

CEMA encourages residents to prepare for severe storms

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - The Chatham County Emergency Management Agency is encouraging everyone to prepare for severe weather now.

Better preparedness will help keep you and your family safe.

Officials say with the current threat of severe weather in our area, Wednesday would be a good day to go ahead and stop by the store for anything you may need and also to get you and your family ready for any severe weather.

Here are some things you can do to get ready for bad weather; Think about making an emergency kit full of supplies. You can stock up on non-perishable food items and bottled water. Also, a weather radio is very helpful along with batteries. And think about gassing up the car and planning how you want to communicate with your family and friends if severe weather hits.

As far as things to remember when a storm strikes, try not to drive and stay away from power lines because they could still be live. Also, secure any items outside that could turn into flying debris as a result of high winds, and remember to always stay away from windows if winds pick up.

CEMA spoke to us about what to look for if you do have to drive.

"Drivers should not drive through deep water, you do not know if the road has gone underneath, the whole turn around - do not drown. In the event that power lines are down, do not drive over the lines or under the lines, you want to stay clear of the power lines," said Dustin Hetzel, Senior Emergency Management Coordinator, CEMA.

Right now, CEMA's Emergency Operations Center is operating at the lowest level, which is a 3, but officials say if there is a tornado that touches down or if there's significant damage in the area, they'll upgrade their operations to level 2. This means they will start working closely with Georgia Power, Red Cross, and Public Works.

"That would be the focus for this particular event if we had any type of tornado touch down. We would bring in those resources that could quickly respond and help mitigate any challenges with that initial response," said Dennis Jones, Deputy Director, CEMA.

CEMA does ask that you follow them on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates. And WTOC will also have the most up to date information.

Copyright 2017 WTOC. All rights reserved.