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Severe Weather Awareness Week

February 4, 2013
Lightning strikes over a cityscape.

Georgians have experienced their share of severe weather recently with storms causing substantial damage, injury and even death last week in North Georgia. Since joining the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security in 1996, I’ve seen first-hand how devastating severe weather can be — damaging homes, destroying valued possessions and even taking lives. There’s no way to know exactly where severe weather will strike, and when it does come your way, you may not have much time to get ready. The best defense against severe weather is to be prepared and to know how to react to protect yourself and your loved ones.

To encourage Georgians to better prepare for these types of disaster, Governor Nathan Deal has proclaimed this week as Severe Weather Awareness Week. Throughout the week, GEMA/HS’s Ready Georgia campaign is encouraging Georgians to take a few minutes each day to get ready for unexpected events, practice emergency response procedures for all types of severe weather and learn more about severe weather threats. We’ve identified simple steps that require just minutes of your time but could significantly lessen the impact that severe weather has on your well-being and your property.



  • Thunderstorm Safety — Check your patio or yard to make sure there is nothing that could blow away during a storm; remove dead or rotting branches from your trees to prevent storm damage.



  • Lightning Safety — Learn the 30/30 rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.


  • Flood Safety — Make copies of important documents, seal them in a watertight container/bag and add them to your Ready kit.

I encourage you to take action this week. There’s no better time than today to get ready for the future.

About the Author

Charley English was sworn in by Governor Nathan Deal as Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security Director in Jan. 2011. He has served in the agency since 1996. Director English oversees all state preparations and deployments regarding emergency management and homeland security efforts.

You can follow Director English's blog postings regularly by visiting Get Ready.

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