Are you prepared for Irma aftermath?

While Hurricane Irma has been downgraded to a tropical storm before passing through, many in the Athens area may still be feeling the aftermath of some flooding and downed power lines.

 

Georgia Power announced Sunday that it is prepared to respond with about 3,400 employees to restore power quickly. Walton EMC announced it has restocked on supplies needed for service restoration.

However, area residents should be prepared for potentially long power outages and possible flooding in the wake of high winds and heavy rain.

In case of power surges caused by lightning strikes, people are advised to turn off air conditioners and unplug electronics, recharge items such as cell phones, and secure all outside property, including those on patios.

The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service and the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency has also encouraged people to maintain emergency kits.

Families should plan for their needs as if they will be unable to leave the house:

Kits should be prepared for the house and one for an evacuation, not just in the case of Irma, but for any other potentially hazardous storm. An emergency kit should contain enough items to supply food and water for the family for at least three days.

A kit for the house may contain one gallon of water per person per day, nonperishable food, weather alert radio, batteries, flashlight, first aid kit, prescription medications, manual can opener and food for any pets.

Keep these emergency items in an easy-to-carry plastic container or duffle bag.

In addition to an emergency kit, every family should have an emergency plan to escape their home.

Family members may get separated during a disaster, so identify a person in another location, or even in another state, that each family member should contact.

All family members, even children, should be familiar with the emergency plan.

If evacuation is necessary, listen to the radio for more information and follow the guidance of emergency personnel.

Keep a car’s gas tank at least half full.

Make sure all family members know the best exits out of the house and a community meeting place.

For more information on preparing an emergency kit, go to ready.ga.gov/build-a-kit.

For more information on creating emergency preparedness plans, go to ready.ga.gov/make-a-plan.

(Contributing to this article was Merritt Melancon, news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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