Newton County EMA issues statement on Barry

By FROM STAFF REPORTS,

The Newton County Emegency Management Agency has issued the following statement regarding Hurricane Barry’s landfall today:

It appears that the majority of the remnants of Hurricane Barry will be to the south and the west of our area. We have the possibility of experiencing gusty winds and some heavy rain fall at times. As always, there is the possibly of a tornado spinning off of this system. This is going to be a slow-moving storm system that will produce heavy rainfall in some locations. If we experience any severe weather in our area, it will be between noon Sunday and noon Monday.

Newton County Emergency Management Agency will be staffing our Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for a Level 3 Partial Activation. We will have staff in our EOC to monitoring Tropical Storm Barry until it moves through our area. Law, Fire and EMS crews are fully staffed and prepared to respond to any emergency situation.

If a need should arise the Newton County Emergency Management Agency will open community shelters. Stay informed via Newton County Emergency Management  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other media sources. You may contact the Emergency Management Director Directly at: Phone- 601-507-9714, Email- btaylor@newtoncountyms.net

As with any disaster Newton County Emergency Management recommends that you establish an emergency plan with your family well before a disaster occurs.

Emergency Kit

• Families should prepare emergency kits and determine what they will do in case of an emergency.

• All emergency kits should include enough water for at least three days, with a minimum of one gallon per person per day.

• Other suggested items for your emergency kits are non-perishable foods for at least three days, flashlights, a weather radio, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, medications that are taken daily, a water filtration device, copies of important documents, cash, an emergency blanket, and a map of the area.

• Write down important phone numbers and keep them in your wallet or purse, as cell phones may die during a disaster.

Plans For The Home

• In case the weather deteriorates, establish a “safe room” in an interior room of the home with no windows. Bring needed supplies.

• If a disaster should last for an extended period of time you may lose access to clean drinking water. We recommend that you purchase some sort of water filtration device that can remove bacteria and parasites from water for a worst-case scenario. It is always best to boil water to make it safe to consume. If that's not possible, you can use bleach to kill microorganisms. Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water, stir the contents, and let them stand for 30 minutes.

• If you are running low on water, avoid salty foods because they will make you thirsty. Instead, eat whole-grain cereals and canned foods that have a lot of liquid.

• During a disaster situation turn off and unplug any unnecessary electrical equipment.

• Know where your electrical box is located and how to shut off the main power to your home should the need arise.

• If the electricity is out do not use candles; use battery-operated flashlights and lanterns instead.

• During a disaster situation, if someone in your home is dependent on electric-powered, life-sustaining medical equipment, review your family emergency plan for backup power or make arrangements to relocate when a storm warning is issued.

• If the electricity is out conserve refrigeration. Check food for spoilage after power is restored. If in doubt, throw it out!

• Be cautious when using emergency cooking facilities. Firefighting operations will be difficult if water lines are damaged.

• Check your smoke alarm batteries and for proper operation. If you do not have a functioning smoke alarm contact your local fire department or the Newton County Emergency Management Agency.

• Have games and activities to occupy your children while they are potential without power and/or their normal electronic devices.

• Use the telephone for emergencies only: DO call police or utility immediately to report hazards such as downed power lines, broken gas or water mains or overturned gas tanks. DO NOT call to report interruptions in electric, gas, water or telephone service. Utilities have plans for complete service restoration.

• During storms, prepare for heavy rainfall by securing your rain gutters and clearing the drains.

• Keep tarps and some cords to tie them down in case you need to patch up holes in your home.

• Clear your yard before a storm arrives. Make sure there's nothing in your yard that could get picked up by strong winds and cause damage to your home. Strap down trampolines, patio furniture, propane tanks, bikes, and other large objects or place them under a shelter.

• If you home should sustain water damage, get it cleaned up as quickly as possible to prevent the growth of mold. (24 to 48 hours if possible) If you spot mold, put on some protective equipment ideally goggles, a N-95 respirator, and protective gloves and clean it. According to the CDC, you should mix a cup of bleach with 1 gallon of water to clean mold.

• During a disaster situation do not evacuate you home or local area unless officials recommend or require it. Shelter in place if possible.

• DO NOT get out and ride the roads looking at the damaged areas, you will be hindering emergency operations and may be putting yourself and others in harms way. 

• If you have to leave your home or local area in an emergency situation have an agreed on a reunion point for your family. If possible, pick someone out of state for your family members to contact if you get separated from one another.

Generator Safety

Fixed, Installed Generators

• Hire a licensed electrician to connect the generator to your house wiring using a transfer switch to prevent your generator from back feeding utility lines. The power you generate may flow back into power lines and cause severe injuries, or even kill a neighbor or utility crew working to restore power.

Portable, Gasoline-Powered Generators

• Thoroughly read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid dangerous shortcuts and ensure the safe operation of your generator.

• Set it up outside, away from all open windows, including neighbors’ windows, to prevent deadly exhaust from entering a home or business

• Use a heavy-duty extension cord rated for outdoor use to keep the generator safely outdoors. If the appliance has a three-prong plug, always use a three-prong extension cord.

• Consider using a battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm to be alerted if carbon monoxide levels become dangerous.

• Connect appliances directly to it. Do not wire your generator directly to your breaker or fuse box, because the power you generate may flow back into power lines and cause severe injuries, or even kill a neighbor or utility crew working to restore power.

• Turn off all connected appliances before starting your generator.

• Turn connected appliances on one at a time, never exceeding the generator’s rated wattage.

• Don't touch a generator if you are wet or are standing in water or on damp ground.

• Never refuel a hot generator or one that is running – hot engine parts or exhaust can ignite gasoline.

• Ensure you have plenty of gas for operation stored safely in gas containers.

• Don’t leave a running generator unattended; turn it off at night and when away from home.

• Tip: Refrigerators may only need to run a few hours a day to preserve food. Try to maintain 40 degrees in the refrigerator compartment and zero degrees in the freezer.

Plans For The Vehicle

• Your vehicle’s gas tank should be kept full at all times, you never know when disaster will strike. Lines get long at gas pumps during disaster situations, so take this step as early as possible.

• Do not attempt to drive through flooded waters. Driving through floodwaters is more dangerous than it may seem. Six inches of fast-moving water is enough to sweep away a vehicle.

• If you can't see the bottom of a flooded area, you should avoid stepping into the water. Flooded water can contain bacteria from sewage, insects, and hazardous chemicals. There could be sharp objects like nails or broken glass hidden from view, and puncture wounds can lead to tetanus or other infections. Downed power lines in the water may also expose you to electricity. In some areas, you risk encountering snakes, fire ants, and flesh-eating bacteria in the water.

• Keep away from flooded and debris-laden areas, because they may be hiding downed lines that can cause electrical shock.

• Don’t touch any tree or object in contact with or near power lines.

• Beware of weakened roads, bridges, tree limbs and porches that may collapse.

How to care for a loved one with special needs

• Seek assistance through local agencies, support groups, family and neighbors.

• Take care of your needs while you are caring for your loved one. Make sure that you both get the proper nutrition and amount of rest.

• Ahead of the storm, ask your physician for an extra supply of regular medications, as well as those that could safely decrease anxiety and promote sleep.

• Monitor your loved one’s level of anxiety and agitation. Realize that your loved one may not understand what is going on. Stay calm and continue to reassure. Expect that stress levels may increase for you both.

• If your loved one has special medical needs, pre-register with the Special Needs shelter officials in your area.

• Make sure you have a current photo of your loved one. If your loved one suffers from dementia, make sure that you and your loved one have a Safe Return + MedicAlert, or other identification bracelet on. For details, contact the Alzheimer’s Association toll-free, 24-hour help line at 1-800-272-3900 or their Safe Return number at 1-888-572-8566. In the meantime, a hand-made bracelet could be created with name, telephone and address.