Published 12:52 am Saturday, May 21, 2016

Covington County EMA is urging locals to get prepared for hurricane season, which begins in June 1.

EMA Director Susan Harris said it only takes one hurricane.

0521-Emergency-checklist“Last year, we in Covington County were fortunate that we did not have a major tropical system impact our county,” she said. “However, we must be reminded that Covington County is still vulnerable to hurricane sand the need for preparedness.”

Harris said that storms and severe weather cost some people their lives and can cause billions of dollars’ worth of damages.

“Because awareness is the key to public safety, Covington County EMA encourages the citizens of Covington County to get prepared now,” she said. “It could save your life.”

Harris suggested that local families review their preparedness plans and get their hurricane kits ready.

“Be prepared with supplies for up to 72 hours of food and water,” she said. “There is no way to predict when a major hurricane could strike. You should be able to make quick decisions regarding where you will go, how you will get there, what you will take, and when you will leave.”

A basic hurricane kit should include non-perishable food items, water, any needed medication, a first aid kit and some means of receiving weather information – preferably a battery-powered NOAA weather radio.

Additionally, residents should have knowledge of hurricane evacuation routes, which run down Hwy. 55, and families need to have a plan of where to go in case of evacuation.

Those living in low-lying areas that are prone to flooding, as well as people living in mobile homes, especially need to be prepared.

Harris said having a plan for safe shelter is the most important part of the plan.

“Please make plans now, if you do not live in a safe place, to go to a family member’s home, neighbors’ or check to see if you local church will open,” she said. “We do not have pre-hurricane shelters in county and do not go to public buildings for shelter.”

Harris said in the event of a hurricane, EMA will request items from the state after 72 hours.

If resources such as water, ice, MREs, tarps are available, the items will be at three locations in the county to pick up: the Kiwanis Center; Ace Hardware in Opp and the Florala Volunteer Fire Department.

“It is your responsibility to get prepared with supplies and find a safe place for you and your family,” Harris said. “Make these plans before a storm strikes.”

Harris said families needing assistance getting prepared, may visit the EMA office at 272 Hillcrest Drive or contact her at 428-2670.