Pike Co. EMA suggests early storm preparation

Published 11:00 pm Monday, June 25, 2012

Despite worries over the weekend that Tropical Storm Debby might take a turn towards Pike County after making landfall, new forecasts suggest the storm won’t be a local threat.

“We’re not even in the cone, anymore,” said Jeanna Barnes, Pike County EMA director. “But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t start preparing today.”

Although modern technology and meteorologists can provide some degree of warning when it comes to hurricanes and tropical storms, Barnes said severe weather can strike unexpectedly and the time to create an emergency plan is now.

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Barnes said a good checklist to prepare a severe weather kit is the “Get 10 List” from the Alabama Department of Public Health.

“Essential items for emergencies are water, food, a manual can opener, medications, first aid kit, flashlight and batteries, battery operated radio, personal care items and extra clothing,” Barnes said. “Put everything you need into a backpack. It’s an easy item to grab.”

Think about placing important documents in a safe and available spot for ready transport, too, Barnes added.

It’s also a good idea to notify friends and family when the area is threatened with severe weather.

“Touch base with people who live out of town, out of state,” Barnes said. “Let them know you are safe and let them know your plans if you are going to leave your home for other shelter.”

If forecasters are predicting severe weather, it’s a good idea to charge cell phones, make a stop by the ATM and fill up gas tanks, Barnes said.

“Think about the things that don’t work when there is no electricity,” she said.

Another technology-based way to ensure important weather information reaches you in a timely fashion is to take part in social networking and smart phone applications. Barnes said people may sign up for weather alert texts at alabamasaftnet.com.

Just this month, the Troy City Council voted to take part in a tax-free holiday for emergency preparedness items. Pike County is also participating in the weekend savings program. The tax-free holiday runs from 12:01 a.m. July 6 t3o midnight that Sunday. A list of exempt items can be found at revenue.alabama.gov. Just click on the “severe weather prep” icon.

“Make your shopping list today and take advantage of next weekend,” Barnes said. “There won’t be a better time.”