(Forsyth County, GA) A state of emergency begins on Thursday, September 29 at 7 a.m. for Forsyth County and the entire state of Georgia. Governor Kemp made the declaration on Tuesday, September 27, in advance of Hurricane Ian making landfall. The state of emergency will run through midnight on Friday, October 28, unless extended by Kemp.
As of Wednesday, September 28, The US National Weather Service in Peachtree City expects Central and North Georgia to get between one and four inches of heavy rainfall with wind gusts of 30 mph and above. The most severe weather for the area is expected early Thursday morning (September 29) through early Sunday morning (October 2).
According to a Facebook post from the Forsyth County government, the Forsyth County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) and other public safety officials met on Tuesday, September 27 to plan for the impact Hurricane Ian might have on the county.
EMA Director Chris Grimes said they are treating the hurricane the same way they treat most special weather events.
“Maybe it's snow in the wintertime, a hurricane that's coming, where we bring all of our partners together,” Grimes said. “And we will do special weather briefings that are done by the National Weather Service. And then usually after we have a discussion about what different agents are doing to prepare, what needs do they have, and look at what the impacts as a whole community are going to be.”
While the EMA prepares for all kinds of emergencies, Deputy Director Joey Smith said that weather-related events are the biggest concerns for Forsyth County.
“In the spring we have the tornadoes, during the summer and early fall, we have the potential for hurricanes,” Smith said. “And then as we move into the winter months, the winter weather-related events are always a concern for us.”
With Hurricane Ian on its way and September being National Preparedness Month, Smith has some advice on how residents can prepare for emergencies like Hurricane Ian.
The Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (Ready Georgia) offers many resources on how to prepare for emergencies, such as how to build a “ready kit” and how to make an emergency plan.
Below is a list of basic items to include in a “ready kit”:
- Water - one gallon per person per day, for at least three days, for drinking and hygiene
- Food - at least a three-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
- Emergency charger for mobile devices
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle - to signal for help
- Face mask - to help filter contaminated air
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place
- Disinfectant wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties - for personal hygiene
- Wrench or pliers - to turn off utilities
- Local maps
Additional items suggested for a “ready kit” can be found here.
Important items to consider
Smith pointed out that there are some items most people don’t consider when preparing for emergencies.
Below are a few of the items he suggested:
- Important documents
“Birth certificates, marriage licenses, death certificates, wills, Power of Attorney documents for medical and/or financial pieces, all that type of stuff is important to keep together and be able to move rapidly in the event that you need to evacuate your home,” Smith said.
- Prescription information
“If you wind up having to leave your home for a number of days, and for whatever reason, either you forgot your medicine or are at the end of a particular prescription, then you can contact your physician or the pharmacy and have those prescriptions refilled,” Smith said.
- Pets care items
Along with basic pet necessities such as food and water, vaccination forms and a plan on if the pet will stay with the owner or need to be housed somewhere else in an emergency need to be considered.
- A list of passwords and usernames
While cash is good to have on hand, eventually access to financial institutions will need to be accessed.
“Personally when I log on my computer or in my phone, my username and password is already saved,” Smith said. “And if I don’t have those documents with me, a list of passwords and usernames, then I may not have access to some of that information that may be critical.”
Another important step to take is to make sure a loved one also has access to important passwords and usernames in case something happens to you.
- Consider family members with special needs
Family members with special needs such as mobility limitations will probably have essential items needed for everyday life.
- Access to information/a way to stay informed
Staying informed of the situation is critical; weather apps on phones for instance are a great way to stay up to date on the emergency.
“However, there are parts of the community that don't all have apps on their phones and stuff like that,” Smith said. “So making sure they have a way to stay informed, whether it's the local news, radio or TV, or you can sign up for weather alerts and those alerts can come in various forms, text, email, stuff like that.”
More resources can be found at the Ready Georgia website, ready.gov, and on the Forsyth County Emergency Management Agency website. Print materials can also be found at libraries or can be requested from the Forsyth County EMA.
If you have a news tip in Forsyth County, contact Justine Lookenott at firstname.lastname@example.org.