Hurricane dangers real, Barrow officials warn

WINDER -- While landlocked and buffered from the eastern seaboard by dozens of counties, Barrow officials are fully aware of the potential danger inherent in June 1, the start of hurricane season.

Barrow County Emergency Services officials are advising residents to prepare for the after-affects of a hurricane and other potential emergencies. A rogue tornado spawned by Hurricane Katrina struck Fort Yargo Park in Winder six years ago.

"Although we're not a coastal community, we can still feel the effects of a hurricane, (which) can still have a devastating effect in Barrow County," said Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Penny Clack. "Citizens can help to reduce the scope of damage by being prepared."

Emergency officials urge residents to have an emergency plan in place to help combat high winds, tornadoes, torrential rains, flooding and severe thunderstorms that off-shoot from coast-pounding storms.

"Doing even minor things such as keeping trees and bushes around the home trimmed, and cleaning loose debris and clogs from gutters, can make a difference," said Barrow County Emergency Services spokesman Scott Dakin.

Dakin offered the following tips in the face of severe weather:

* Secure homes and outdoor objects, or bring them inside.

* Avoid using landline phones unless in an emergency.

* Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes; fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.

* Stay inside during severe weather, and away from windows and glass doors.

* If necessary, take refuge in a small interior room closet or hallway on the lowest level.

One of the best ways to stay informed, Dakin said, is through a NOAA Weather Radio. Residents who log on to the ready.gov website until July 15 and create a profile will have a shot at winning one of 200 radios.

More emergency preparedness tips can be found at www.ready.gov