Columbia County event teaches about weather, safety

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When Eden Johnson thinks of emergency preparedness, she thinks of her four small children first. So when she made a presentation at Weatherfest 2012 in the Evans Government Center on Saturday morning about emergency kits, she said she always adds a little something extra: games and hard candy.

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Ray Criswell uses slides as he talks about the things people will need to keep around the house to prepare for a weather disaster during Weatherfest in Evans.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Ray Criswell uses slides as he talks about the things people will need to keep around the house to prepare for a weather disaster during Weatherfest in Evans.

“Candy goes a long way to occupy children,” she said. “During a disastrous event, it can make it less traumatic for them.”

Steven Naglic, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Columbia, said everyone should have a plan for a natural disaster and be aware of what might happen in their local area.

He said the best way to be in the know is to sign up for text alerts from local news stations.

There are three types of major warnings: severe thunderstorms, where the hail is at least 1-inch wide or the winds are at least 58 mph; a flash flood warning, where the area will see 1 to 3 inches of rain and rivers might flood; and a tornado warning. All three are activated by the emergency alert system, he said, which goes out over weather radios. If someone does not have access to a weather radio, the next best thing is a text message from someone who does, such as a news outlet.

“Sometimes people know these things are coming, and they just look at them,” he said. “Get to a safe location.”

Emergency kits should have at least 1 gallon of water per person, per day. Canned soups and meals that are ready to eat are good sources of calories. Shelter, light and warmth were stressed, including keeping comfortable and clean clothing on hand.

The event was sold out to an audience filled with some EMS personnel, Red Cross volunteers and people who were interested in learning more about the weather.

Shannon Ferraro, 12, came with her mother so she could learn more about becoming a meteorologist.

“I love weather,” she said.

Besides learning about text alerts, which she said she planned to sign up for, she said the seminar was educational.

“I learned not to go outside in a storm,” she said.


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