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Posted: February 10, 2011 6:38 p.m.

Snow caps off Weather Awareness Week

Weather awareness week might end today but the precautions needed to ensure safety last all year long.

According to Jody Nolan, Deputy Director for Newton County’s Emergency Management Agency, it is important for residents to focus on several things to prepare themselves and their family for the possibility of inclement weather. One thing Nolan stressed is that a weather radio should be a staple in every household. While the city of Covington does have severe weather warning sirens that are alerted by 911, in the event of something like a tornado, those would be hard to hear even living close by, and residents in the county would not hear them at all. Weather radios are alerted by the National Weather Service, which means they would have more up to the minute information.

"The purchase and placement of a weather radio is just as critical these days as a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm in the home," he said. "It’s kind of like a weather warning alarm clock and it’s a very small price to pay (usually about $20)," Nolan said. "They have a battery backup and broadcast the current weather condition on a continuous basis so you can use them at any time. There is also a special code for the county you live in so you can know the conditions in the county at all times."

Another important thing Nolan suggested is that everyone has at least three days worth of food and water for each family member available should the weather situation become dire. And for those who take medication — especially life-sustaining medication — or are on oxygen, Nolan recommends keeping extra medication and bottled oxygen on hand in case transportation to a pharmacy isn’t possible.

"We also recommend that people have an emergency kit they can get to quickly," said Nolan. "Something with personal information, medical history, cash — possibly even some food and medications. We just want to encourage people to prepare themselves," he said.

Nolan recommended visiting www.ready.gov to learn how to put together a personal kit and one for businesses. Additionally, much information can be found at www.gema.state.ga.us about how to become and remain prepared.

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