With tornado season peaking between the months of March and May, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other local emergency agencies are encouraging everyone to start preparing now for these potentially disastrous storms.
GEMA’s Ready Georgia, www.ready.ga.gov, a statewide emergency preparedness campaign, offers tools that residents can use to create an emergency supply kit, develop a communications plan and stay informed about potential threats.
To prepare, plan for and stay informed about tornadoes, Ready Georgia shares the following tips:
Prepare for Tornadoes
- Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify tornado hazards: a tornado watch means a tornado is possible in your area; a tornado warning means a tornado has been spotted in your area, and you need to take shelter immediately.
- Determine in advance where you will take shelter in case of a tornado warning.
- Prepare a Ready Kit of emergency supplies, including a first aid kit, NOAA Weather Radio and a three-day supply of food and water.
Plan to Take Shelter
- If local authorities issue a tornado warning or if you see a funnel cloud, take shelter immediately.
- Storm cellars or basements provide the best protection.
- If underground shelter is not available, go into an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
- In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
- Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. Go to the center of the room. Stay away from corners because they attract debris.
- A vehicle, trailer or mobile home does not provide good protection. Plan to go quickly to a building with a strong foundation, if possible.
- If shelter is not available, lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area. Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
- Stay in the shelter location until the danger has passed.
Stay Informed about Tornadoes
- Local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should listen to NOAA Weather Radio, watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet often for official news and instructions as they become available.
- After a tornado, be sure to remain out of damaged buildings and stay clear of downed power lines.
- Help injured or trapped people. Check on others who may require special assistance, such as the elderly, children and people with disabilities.
A few minutes of preparation can save a life or make you far more comfortable in case of an emergency situation.
Reducing the Risk of Manual Material Handling
Back injuries account for one of every five injuries or illnesses in the workplace. Around 80% of these injuries occur to the lower back and are associated with manual material handling tasks. Oftentimes we get drawn into the “let’s get’ er done” attitude with many material handling tasks. The work does need to be completed, but taking a couple of seconds to determine the best way to do the job may prevent weeks of back pain.
When you lift…
- Plant your feet firmly – get a stable base
- Keep the load close to your body
- Bend at your knees – not your waist
- Tighten your abdominal muscles to support your back
- Keep your back upright – keep it in its natural posture
- Use your leg muscles as you lift
- Get a good grip – use both hands
- Lift steadily and smoothly without jerking
- Breathe. If you must hold your breath to lift it, then it is too heavy
- Lift from the floor
- Lift loads across obstacles
- Twist and lift
- Lift from an uncomfortable posture
- Fight to recover a dropped object
- Lift with one hand (unbalanced)
- Lift while reaching or stretching
- Hold your breath while lifting – Get Help
Begin each material handling task with the end in mind: Where are you going to move it? Do you have a good grip? Is there a clear path?
Let’s work together to make Georgia a safer place to work.
To find trails ranging from easy, paved paths to more challenging hikes, visit GeorgiaStateParks.org.
Safe Hiking Tips
- Avoid hiking alone because the “buddy system” is safer during any type of activity.
- Tell someone where you are going and when you will return. Don’t forget to check in with them when you get back.
- Stay on marked trails. Making shortcuts and “bushwhacking” causes erosion and greatly increases your chance of becoming lost.
- Never climb on waterfalls. A high number of injuries and deaths occur on waterfalls and slippery, wet rocks.
- Always carry quality rain gear and turn back in bad weather. If you become wet or cold, it is important to get dry and warm as quickly as possible, avoiding hypothermia.
- All hikers should carry a whistle, which can be heard far away and takes less energy than yelling. Three short blasts is a sign of distress.
- Carry plenty of drinking water and never assume stream water is safe to drink.
- Don’t count on cell phones to work in the wilderness, but if they do, be able to give details about your location.
- Don’t rely on a GPS to prevent you from getting lost. Batteries can die or the equipment can become damaged or lost.
- Wear bright colors. Don’t dress children in camouflage. Keep dogs on a leash because they sometimes become injured or lost too.
Carry an Emergency Kit
Each hiker should have these items:
- First-aid kit
- Small flashlight with extra batteries
- Energy food
- Brightly colored bandana
- Trash bag (preferably a bright color, such as “pumpkin bags” sold in autumn). Poke a hole for your head and wear it as a poncho to stay dry.
What to Do If You Are Lost
- Stay in one place.
- Make shelter.
- Stay warm and dry.
- Be visible and heard.
- If helicopters are searching overhead, seek an opening in the forest. Lie down so you look bigger from the air.