Prepare for tornado season - FOX 32 News Chicago

Prepare for tornado season #IMREADY

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We are now in the peak months for severe weather in Georgia. And the FOX 5 Storm Team is helping you to get prepared.

By sharing the steps you and your family should take before severe weather strikes.

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When Bob Johnston and his wife, Debbie, moved with their children from sunny, Southern California to Georgia about 20 years ago, they were met with quite a welcome from mother nature. While driving into town up I-75, traffic came to a standstill.

It was later that they learned an F-2 tornado had crossed the Interstate just 1/4 mile in front of them. That was all the motivation they needed to become a family that takes weather preparedness seriously.

"It just makes sense to be able to plan to take care of yourself if something happens," Johnston says.

Johnston, who has organized a "community emergency response team" in his lake arrowhead community, says there are three basic steps everyone should follow to be storm-ready.

He says, "there's a different plan for everybody whether you've got kids, whether you've got a big family at home, or whether you have lots of pets. Everybody's plan is really going to be different."

But there is one thing that is consistent with every plan. You should know where to go when a warning is issued. If you have no basement, look for an interior room away from windows. In the Johnston's home, that place is their master bedroom closet.

They keep extra blankets and also bicycle helmets in the closet to protect their heads from flying debris. Studies have shown that most tornado deaths come from head trauma, so this is a move that could save their lives.

Johnston also recommends keeping a flashlight and extra batteries where you plan to shelter in case the power goes out.

Johnston says step two is making a preparedness kit by gathering supplies that will sustain you for a minimum of three days.

"You need at least a gallon of water per person per day and that's just for normal drinking an hygiene," Johnston says.

You should also include non-perishable food items. And don't forget, a lot of the technology you may typically rely on, becomes useless during a power outage - including the cordless phone in your home.

Johnston recommends, "The good thing to do is to have an old analog, touch-tone phone that you can plug into the wall so that if you need to call somebody, you can."

Step three is to stay alert to changing weather conditions.

A NOAA weather radio is an excellent tool for doing that. Consider that cell service may be delayed or interrupted during a severe weather outbreak, so if you use weather apps to get your severe weather warnings, you'll want to have a reliable back-up like a NOAA weather radio.

You'll also want to have a first aid kit and any medications your family may need Johnston says the best time to get prepared is now.

He says, "What is it that we need to do to make it through? it's not difficult, but do it on a sunny day. Don't wait until the storms hit before you start thinking about what I should have had in the basement."

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