Monthly Archives: January 2009


ATLANTA (January 29, 2009) -Weather played a disastrous part in the lives of many Georgians in 2008 as metro Atlanta and other parts of Georgia experienced three major tornado touchdowns in a span of two months (March-May 2008), including the first-ever strike to downtown Atlanta.

Georgia Governor, Sonny Perdue, has designated the week of February 1 – 7, 2009 as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Georgia, and the American Red Cross is encouraging the public to Be Red Cross Ready and to save lives by preparing for weather related emergencies ahead of time. “Spring is generally the time of year that weather in Georgia can become very unstable,” said Marilyn Self, manager of readiness for metro Atlanta’s Red Cross. “The Red Cross urges Georgia families to prepare ahead of time in order to reduce fear and to save precious time and lives during severe weather events.”

Throughout the first week of February and the rest of the severe weather season, the Red Cross is urging everyone to take three simple action steps: get a family emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan and be informed about the types of disasters that can happen in their communities.

How to Prepare

Recent Red Cross polls indicate that people think they are “somewhat prepared” for disasters when, in fact, they are not as prepared as they need to be. The Red Cross encourages everyone to take the following steps to help them Be Red Cross Ready:


·         Get a Kit– Have at least three days of supplies in an easy-to-carry evacuation kit, with additional supplies on hand. The kit should include basic items like water, food, battery-powered radio, flashlight and a first aid kit.  Your kit should also include medications, sanitary supplies, and a change of clothing for all family members. Click Be Red Cross Ready in the Red Cross Links section to find out how you can purchase a kit from the Red Cross or download instructions for building your own.



·         Make a Plan– Planning ahead will help you have the best possible response to disaster. Make sure to talk to with your family about the types of disasters that can take place in your community. Choose a place outside your home and a place outside of your neighborhood to meet after a disaster. As part of your family communications plan, tell everyone in your household where emergency information and supplies are kept and practice evacuating your home twice a year. Click Be Red Cross Ready in the Red Cross Links section to download an emergency contact card for your wallet. Click Red Cross Safe and Well in the Red Cross Links section and become familiar with this resource for reconnecting with your family in case you are separated in an emergency.


·         Be Informed– Disasters can vary from those affecting only you and your family, like a home fire or medical emergency, to those affecting your entire community, like an tornado or flood. Know what disasters or emergencies may occur where you live, work, and play and identify how local authorities will notify you during a disaster. Red Cross training if first aid and CPR saves lives. Click Red Cross Health and Safety Classes in the Red Cross Links section to view and register for regularly scheduled classes in your community.  



Red Cross Urges Atlantans to Bundle Up as Mercury Plunges

Although snow, ice, and freezing temperatures are not the norm in metro Atlanta, winter storms do happen here and can be dangerous. The aftermath of a big winter storm can impact a community or region for days, weeks, or even months.

A Word about Ice Storms

When temperatures fall below freezing, wet snow and ice accumulate rapidly and can bring down trees, electrical wires, telephone poles and lines, and communication towers. People can become trapped at home, without utilities or other services while companies work to repair the extensive damage. Pipes may freeze and burst in homes that are poorly insulated or without heat. Motorists unaccustomed to driving on slick roads, are prone to traffic accidents. Local municipalities may not have available snow removal equipment or treatments, such as sand or salt, for icy roads.

Prepare a Winter Storm Plan

  • Have extra blankets on hand.
  • Ensure that each member of your household has a warm coat, gloves or mittens, hat, and water-resistant boots.
  • Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit
  • Have your car winterized before winter storm season. 
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio and your local radio and TV stations for updated storm information. 
  • A winter storm WATCH means a winter storm is possible in your area.
  • A winter storm WARNING means a winter storm is headed for your area.
  • A blizzard WARNING means strong winds, blinding wind-driven snow, and dangerous wind chill are expected. Seek shelter immediately! 
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, local radio, and TV stations, or cable TV such as The Weather Channel for further updates.
  • Be alert to changing weather conditions.
  • Avoid unnecessary travel. 
  • Stay indoors during the storm.
  • If you must go outside, several layers of lightweight clothing will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat. Gloves (or mittens) and a hat will prevent loss of body heat. Cover your mouth to protect your lungs.
  • Understand the hazards of wind chill, which combines the cooling effect of wind and cold temperatures on exposed skin.
  • As the wind increases, heat is carried away from a person’s body at an accelerated rated, driving down the body temperature.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy, sidewalks.
  • After the storm, if you shovel snow, be extremely careful. It is physically strenuous work, so take frequent breaks. Avoid overexertion.
  • Avoid traveling by car in a storm, but if you must…
    • Carry a Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk.
    • Keep your car’s gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
    • Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.

If You Do Get Stuck…

  • Stay with your car. Do not try to walk to safety.
  • Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.
  • Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won’t back up in the car.
  • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.
  • As you sit, keep moving your arms and legs to keep blood circulating and to stay warm.
  • Keep one window away from the blowing wind slightly open to let in air.

What to Do After a Winter Storm

  • Continue listening to local radio or television stations or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions. Access may be limited to some parts of the community, or roads may be blocked.
  • Help a neighbor who may require special assistance–infants, elderly people, and people with disabilities. Elderly people and people with disabilities may require additional assistance. People who care for them or who have large families may need additional assistance in emergency situations.
  • Avoid driving and other travel until conditions have improved. Roads may be blocked by snow or emergency vehicles.
  • Avoid overexertion. Heart attacks from shoveling heavy snow are a leading cause of deaths during winter.
  • Follow forecasts and be prepared when venturing outside. Major winter storms are often followed by even colder conditions.

Atlanta Red Cross Ends Busy 2008

ATLANTA (January 12, 2009) – As families throughout Atlanta wrapped up the holidays and heralded the arrival of the New Year, the Atlanta Red Cross was responding to several fires across the Atlanta area.
From November 24, 2008- January 4, 2009, Red Cross volunteers responded to just over 100 incidents and provided emergency assistance in the form of lodging, clothing, food and replacement medications to over 175 families.
Home fires are the most common disaster that Metro Atlanta’s Red Cross responds to, on average 3 to 4 per day. Disaster volunteers are on call 24 hours a day to respond and meet the emergency needs of disaster victims.