Winter provides us with a welcome break from the hot and humid summer; however, it also brings hazards that we must prepare for. While winter weather can provide beautiful landscapes for pictures and enjoyment, we know that it can have a major impact on our daily lives. Cherokee County has seen its share of major winter weather events, especially during the past 30 years. Events, ranging from the blizzard of 1993 to the infamous Snowpocalypse of 2014, which had minor ice and snow accumulations but major impacts, have shown us that we need to be prepared for whatever may occur during the winter months.
Prepare and GatherSupplies
The effects of snow, freezing rain or sleet can last for several days, requiring you to stay at home, and preventing the delivery of necessary items. Your power and internet service also may be affected. Therefore, it is essential that you have a disaster supply kit ready.
Make sure you have enough food and water to last a couple of days for all members of your household, in case a disaster strikes. Check the supply of all essential medications before a winter weather event. Batteries, flashlights and a portable radio also are good items to have. Follow all safety precautions when using heating or cooking elements, to prevent fire and carbon monoxide risks.
A separate kit for your car is recommended highly, in case you become stranded on the roadway; blankets and/or extra warm clothing, batteries, bottled water, nonperishable food, portable charging devices and a basic first aid kit are suggested.
Extreme temperature drops are not abnormal for Cherokee County. Below-freezing temperatures can cause frozen water pipes, a common issue in the winter months. Make sure you allow faucets to drip when temperatures drop below freezing, to help prevent this issue.
Assisting individuals who are alone, or unable to prepare for winter weather or extremely cold temperatures, is another great way you can help your community. Also, don’t forget to have a plan for family pets that may be caught outdoors.
Sign Up for Alerts
While you are creating and stocking your disaster supply kit, identify more than one way to receive a warning for weather events or critical alerts. Cherokee County offers a mass notification system called CodeRED to its residents. CodeRED provides critical communications, such as evacuation notices, missing child alerts and weather warnings. To sign up for CodeRED, visit www.cherokeega-ema.org/codered. Wireless emergency alerts on your smartphone, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio, local television media and weather apps for your smartphone are more ways to receive an alert or warning.
During the winter months, Cherokee County Emergency Management will provide additional preparedness information on its Facebook (@CherokeeEMA) and Twitter (@ema_CherokeeGA) accounts. Preparedness materials also can be found on our website at www.cherokeega-ema.org, by clicking on the Are You Ready? icon.
– Daniel Westbrook is the director of the Cherokee County Emergency Management Agency and has been with the agency since 2016.