Officials warn hurricane season brings local threats

WINDER -- Say Barrow County, and beach-pounding, home-wrecking, tree-shredding hurricanes don't exactly leap to mind.

But with the onset of June 1 -- the official start of the 2010 hurricane season -- officials in this land-locked, hardly coastal county reminded residents that sea-born torrents can have local repercussions.

Barrow County Emergency Services officials are joining with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to urge residents to take steps to ensure that families, homes and businesses are prepared for the risks associated with hurricanes and tropical storms.

"The best protection available is for them to be prepared in case of an emergency," department spokesman Lt. Scott Dakin said. "The more prepared citizens are, the better the overall outcome will be if we suffer severe weather during this hurricane season."

As evidenced in years past, hurricanes and major offshore storms can trigger inland weather issues like powerful winds, severe thunderstorms, heavy rains and even tornadoes. The chance for a flooding encore a la last September is higher during hurricane season, Dakin said.

"It's always better to be prepared for an emergency ... than to experience an emergency and have no idea how to help yourself or your family," Dakin said.

Barrow authorities released the following tip sheet this week in preparation for hurricane season:

* Homeowners should make sure they have the necessary insurance and conduct a home inventory for a record of all major household items and valuables. This inventory will make it easier when dealing with insurance companies.

* Take steps to protect important documents such as birth certificates. Officials recommended the originals of these documents be kept in a safe deposit box.

* Build an emergency kit and make an evacuation plan.

* Visit www.floodsmart.gov to learn the level of flood risk for properties in Georgia.

* For more information and help in developing a family emergency plan, visit www.ready.gov.