Local Disaster Victims Reflect As Tornado Season Approaches

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By Greg Gullberg
Feb. 24, 2013

Lowndes Co., GA - Drivers on Bemiss Road are welcomed by a startling reminder as they cross the Lowndes - Lanier County border in Georgia. Dozens of houses and many surrounding neighborhoods have changed little in the past 12 months from when a massive tornado ripped through there March 3rd last year.

Now as Tornado Season is set to begin this Friday, March 1st, "Georgia's Emergency Management Agency" wants people to be ready.

"Just like out of nowhere the wind picked up really strong and boom a tornado came in," said tornado victim Joe Thwaites. "I ran for the hallway and I heard all this noise and less than a minute later I got up and this neighborhood was destroyed."

Joe Thwaites was one of the lucky ones whose house wasn't severely damaged last year. But dozens others were not so lucky. Many homes were ripped in half.

Despite the power of the tornado there were no reports of deaths or serious injuries. Experts at the National Weather Service in Tallahassee rank it as an EF-3.

"I'm just thankful to be alive today and didn't get as much damage as a lot of people did," said Thwaites.

The Ready Georgia campaign wants people to protect themselves by preparing a Disaster Ready Kit. Here's a list of what to include.

- - - Recommended Items - - -

Water. One gallon per person per day, for at least 3 days, for drinking and sanitation

Food. At least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food

Can opener. For food, if kit contains canned food

Radio. Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, and extra batteries for both

Flashlight and extra batteries

First aid kit

Whistle. To signal for help

Face mask. To help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place

Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties. For personal sanitation

Wrench or pliers. To turn off utilities

Local maps

- - - Additional Items - - -

Prescription medications and glasses

Infant formula and diapers

Pet food, extra water, pet supplies, toys and vaccination forms.

Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container

Cash or traveler’s checks and change

Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from Ready America

Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider adding bedding in cold weather.

Complete change of clothing. Include a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider adding clothing in cold weather.

Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper

Fire extinguisher

Matches in a waterproof container

Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items

Mess kits, paper cups, plates, plastic utensils, paper towels

Paper and pencil

Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children.

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