Severe weather week upcoming

Published 9:51 pm Friday, February 25, 2011

Spring severe weather season runs from March until May and the folks down at the Emergency Management Agency want to make sure Pike County residents are prepared for the wild swings the spring can bring.

Monday marks the beginning of Pike County Severe Weather Awareness Week, a time when EMA Director Jeanna Barnes seeks to focus attention on the dangers posed by severe weather and the ways residents can prepare.

“The problem that I have seen people have is developing a sense of ‘complacency’,” Barnes said. “People tend to say things like, ‘well, we’re under a watch, but nothing ever happens,’ or tend to believe that nothing ‘big’ can ever happen here.”

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Yet statistics prove otherwise. Barnes said the National Weather Service website shows the state of Alabama experiences more tornado-related fatalities than any other state and that Alabama ranks fifth among the states with the most “killer” tornadoes.

Barnes says it is statistics like those, as well as many others regarding severe weather, that people either don’t know about or tend to dismiss.

“The main goal of the Pike County Emergency Management Agency is to ensure the safety of our citizens,” Barnes said.

Realizing that raising awareness is key to preventing serious injuries as a direct result of sever weather, Barnes has organized a list of 10 essential items that everyone should have in order to be adequately prepared for unexpected emergencies.

The top 10 list of most important items to have include: water (one gallon per person); food (non-perishables, two weeks worth per person); can opener; medicine (prescribed or over the counter); a First Aid kit; flashlight; battery-powered radio; clothes; any personal care items (i.e. toothbrush/toothpaste, soap, etc.).

“Through this campaign, we hope to broaden the awareness of our citizens in areas of disaster,” Barnes said. “Preparedness, severe weather knowledge, and maintaining personal safety are all important both before and after a disaster has occurred. It is our hope that our weather awareness campaign will not only provide the citizens of Pike County with valuable knowledge regarding severe weather, but will encourage them to take the necessary safety precautions that could prove to be life saving in the event of a disaster.”