County encourages severe weather awareness this week

CONYERS -- From frozen roadways to deadly tornadoes, Georgia experienced many types of severe weather in 2011. In order to raise awareness and help Georgia prepare for similar events during 2012, Gov. Nathan Deal has declared Feb. 6-10 as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Georgia.

Rockdale County Sheriff Jeff Wigington, director of Conyers-Rockdale Emergency Management Agency (EMA), encourages all Rockdale County residents to become more aware of severe weather safety measures and to participate in the various awareness programs scheduled to take place during the week, such as Family Preparedness Day on Monday, Feb. 6, and the Statewide Tornado Drill on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

As part of Severe Weather Awareness Week, the Conyers-Rockdale EMA encourages residents to purchase a NOAA weather radio. NOAA weather radios can be programmed to your local area and broadcast official National Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information. NOAA weather radios can be purchased at many local stores, as well as over the internet.

The Conyers-Rockdale EMA also encourages residents to sign up for the CodeRed notification system. CodeRed is offered at no charge and is a warning system that sends a recorded, email or text message regarding emergency situations. Residents can register by visiting the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office website at www.rockdalesheriff.com or by calling 770-278-8184.

All residents, families, and businesses are urged to be prepared for severe weather in 2012. Rockdale County is participating in the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security's (GEMA) Ready Georgia program, a public awareness campaign to help residents understand the importance of emergency preparedness and provide them with the tools necessary to be prepared in the event of a weather-related or other emergency. The Ready Georgia campaign offers three simple steps to prepare for such events:

  1. Create a Ready kit of emergency supplies including nonperishable food, water, a NOAA weather radio and a flashlight with extra batteries.

  2. Develop a communications plan to reconnect with family members.

  3. Stay informed about the types of emergencies that can happen in your area and the appropriate responses.

In order to better prepare and to receive tips on following these three steps, visit GEMA's Ready Georgia website (www.ready.ga.gov) or to download the free Ready Georgia mobile app on your Android or iPhone device. Both the website and the mobile app help users create their Ready kits, find local emergency contact information, learn about Georgia-specific disasters, create family communications plans, and read preparedness testimonials from local sports stars. Ready Georgia is also available on Facebook and YouTube. By following the tips and guidelines offered by Ready Georgia, residents will be prepared for at least 72 hours of self-sufficiency during a disaster.

During Severe Weather Awareness Week, local families, schools, and civic groups are encouraged to contact the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office for more information on how to participate in a local severe weather awareness drill or to obtain additional information.