Severe Weather Survival: Part I

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The Alabama Emergency Management Agency is doing more to prepare for a major storm this year than ever before.

This is based on a lesson from past storms and a prediction that if a serious hurricane hit our area, many would be in need but would not have basic survival resources.

Houston County EMA Director Clark Matthews says, "Twenty percent of our population would need commodities; water, ice and food to get by."

The state EMA has a hurricane plan drafted, which would go into effect 96-hours before the storm hits and would continue through the post-hurricane stages.

The biggest changes will be better communication with the public, animal shelter planning and fewer evacuation orders.

But they're not the only emergency officials that are trying to make some changes.

The American Red Cross' Wiregrass chapter is adding more volunteer training, especially after the March 1st tornado.

"Because the tornadoes happened during the day and weren't happening right on us, they didn't want to take time off work to get to those very key, key positions. So more training and more volunteers [is needed]. We're always looking for more volunteers," says Shirley Sandy of American Red Cross.

The Red Cross is also stressing the importance of a home preparedness kit equipped with basic survival supplies like water, tarp, clothing, medications, flashlights and batteries.

Lowe's of Dothan Store Manager Chuck Hall says, "I just want to stress to customers, we're also in an area where we have a lot of masonry/brick homes and the tefcon fastener, that blue screw, is really essential if someone needs that to put plywood over their windows."

It's also recommended for your family to have an out-of-state contact in case your family gets separated while evacuating or during the storm.

For a more complete list of items to have in your preparedness kit, log onto America Red Cross at,1082,0_3_,00.html

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