A DETAILED DEFENSE
Though spring can bring several severe weather threats, some attention to detail can help South Alabama Electric Cooperative members weather the storms.
“Preparedness includes thinking about the things you wouldn’t normally think about,” says Elliott Jones, Crenshaw County’s Emergency Management Agency director. “The public needs to be weather-ready and weather-aware.”
Jones encourages everyone to create emergency plans to help safeguard themselves and their properties against severe weather. He emphasizes the importance of communication.
“You need to have severe weather notification devices like smartphones or weather radios,” he says, noting residents should not rely on outdoor warning sirens. “You need to have backup batteries for the weather radios. You also need to have a safety plan, and you also need an accountability plan if your family members get separated from each other.”
Residents should store emergency contact numbers in their cellphones, including numbers for local emergency management offices, Jones says. Pike County residents can reach their EMA office at 334-566-8272, while Crenshaw County residents can dial 334-335-4538 to access theirs.
Plans should include the creation of a stockpile of supplies, beginning with enough nonperishable food and water to last three days, he says. Water supplies should be sufficient to provide 3 gallons of water for each person daily.
Jones also recommends assembling an emergency kit for vehicles as preparation for possible evacuation. For a full list of materials officials suggest for an emergency kit, visit ready.gov or redcross.org.
Finally, Jones suggests that plans include provisions for animal care and property loss. Proper planning will prevent pets from running away during a storm and ensure that residents know where they could stay if their homes are damaged.
“You need to have a recovery plan,” he says. “You need to know where you might go if you are dealing with property damage. The incident is very short, but the recovery can be very long.”
OTHER PREPAREDNESS TIPS
- During a storm, using electronics plugged into your home’s electrical system can be dangerous. Charge all phones or other communications devices before inclement weather occurs.
- Purchase surge protectors or other lightning protection systems to safeguard home electronics and appliances.
- Store important documents in a safe area such as a safe deposit box.
- Identify safe spaces, like interior rooms on the lowest floor of a dwelling, and relocate to those areas during storms. Safe spaces should be away from windows and exterior doors.
- Do not use landline phones, running water or plugged-in electronics. Lightning can travel through phone lines, wiring and plumbing.
- Unplug appliances and electronics during stormy weather.