With a flash flood watch issued in the northeast corner of Georgia – and forecasters predicting heavy rain in other parts of the state – emergency officials say there is no better time to start preparing for severe weather. The timing is especially important since this week marks the three-year anniversary of the Georgia floods, which caused $500 million worth of damage to some 20,000 homes and businesses.
Here are some tips, courtesy of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency’s Ready Georgia campaign.
Prepare for Flooding
- Know your area's flood risk – if unsure, call your local emergency management agency.
- Property insurance does not typically cover flood damage. Talk to your insurance provider about your policy and consider if you need additional coverage. The National Flood Insurance Program is designed to provide reasonable flood insurance in exchange for the careful management of flood-prone areas by local communities. The program, administered by FEMA, is available in hundreds of participating Georgia communities. Visit FEMA Business NFIP for more information.
- Reduce potential flood damage by raising your furnace, water heater, and electric panel if they are in areas of your home that may be flooded.
Plan to Evacuate
- Get a disaster supplies kit and prepare a portable Ready kit in case you have to evacuate. Plan how you will leave and where you will go if you are advised to evacuate.
- If you have a car, fill the gas tank. If you do not have a car, plan alternate means of evacuating.
- Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.
- Closely monitor a local radio station, TV station or NOAA Weather Radio for flood information.
- Do not drive around barricades. They are there for your safety.
- Never drive through standing water. It only takes two feet of water to float a full-sized automobile – and more than half of flood victims are in vehicles swept away by moving water.
- Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks, and storm drains.
- Stay out of floodwaters if possible. The water may be contaminated or electrically charged. However, if your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, get out immediately and seek higher ground.
- Stay away from downed power lines to avoid the risk of electric shock or electrocution.
- Do not return home until local authorities say it is safe. Even after floodwaters recede, roads and bridges may be weakened and could collapse. Buildings may be unstable, and drinking water may be contaminated. Use common sense and exercise caution.
In addition to flood preparation, Georgians are encouraged to observe National Preparedness Month by participating in two Ready Georgia contests that challenge readiness knowledge. Between now and Oct. 2, residents statewide can enter the “What’s in the Kit?” contest via the Ready Georgia Facebook page. Each Wednesday, a new close-up image of Ready kit item will be posted, and those providing the correct responses will be in the running for a weekly prize pack valued at nearly $200. At the same time, Georgia’s third, fourth and fifth-graders are invited to participate in a creative art, essay and video contest. This year’s theme – “Georgia Kids are Super Ready” – asks students to show how they can serve as superheroes by helping their families prepare for all kinds of emergencies. All entries must be submitted or postmarked by Sept. 30, and winners get prizes ranging from admission passes to Zoo Atlanta and Legoland to gift shop items donated by Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta.
For more information on how to prepare for emergencies, create communications plans and more, visit ready.ga.gov. For preparedness on the go, families can also download Ready Georgia’s free mobile app.