News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Insurance Journal is predicting 2012 to be above average for tornadoes, which is why Georgia officials are warning residents to beware of their surroundings.
Last year ranked as fourth most deadly tornado year ever recorded in U.S. history. There were three confirmed tornadoes in the CSRA area alone.
David Colmans is the executive director the Georgia Insurance Information Service. He knows just how life-saving it can be to know when a disaster is about to strike.
"What we are concerned about is that people don't take these weather situations for granted, that is why we talk about situational awareness," he said.
Colmans warns an emergency plan is only helpful when people are aware of their surroundings.
"If you have a plan and you think you're ready to go but you don't realize these situations around you at all times, how can institute a plan?"
He says the best way to practice situational awareness is through the use of a weather radio or your local news. It also means not rushing outside to inspect the sky when you hear a warning on your radio.
Kaityln Bisso will never forget the stormy night last April.
"I actually woke up with firefighters in my house," Bisso said.
A violent storm forced her neighbors above her to evacuate. When she came outside, she saw a tree lying above the apartment. Although the storm caught Bisso by surprise, she says she will be prepared if disaster strikes twice.
Here are a few things to remember as we approach severe weather season:
-Keep a supply of water, non-perishable foods, flashlights and batteries.
-Make sure you own a battery or hand-cranked radio.
-Keep a first aid kit in your home.
Remember, it often takes 72 hours for relief workers to respond after a disaster strikes.