Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Before, During and After the Storm

Looking back over Cherokee County’s recent experience with a category 2 tornado, it seems that many people may think that they are safe from similar storms for a while. We have all heard the old saying, “lightening never strikes the same spot twice.” What about feeling that we are safe since the last significant tornado was in 1974? Keep in mind that many residents in the Chattanooga area were just finishing up with their rebuilding efforts from storms that ravaged the area in 2011 when they were struck again with severe weather last week. In short, it could happen again and it is in everyone’s best interest to take precautions now, even if your property was spared damage from last Friday’s tornado.

According to, a compilation of sound advice from many experts across the country, there are many things that we can do to protect ourselves in the event of future storms. has an extensive assortment of helpful websites. A few selected articles that seem particularly relevant to our area are highlighted below. EDEN, extension disaster education network is one such resource. “EDEN works through extension educators, specialists to assist citizens throughout U.S. Whether it’s the devastation of deadly tornadoes, the toll taken by flooding, or the wrath of wildfires, disasters take a huge economic and personal toll every year. A network of educators throughout the United States is working to help citizens better prepare for, and recover from disasters.”
EDEN is a partner with the United States Department of Agriculture, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters.
More information about EDEN is available on the website or by contacting Morgan at 334-844-5699 or or Steve Cain at 765-494-8410 or

Considering Cherokee County’s recent tornado now is the time to make a plan-just in case.
First and probably the easiest precaution would be to make your own “Grab and Go” box.
“Use a durable, sealed waterproof box or backpack. Put in copies of everything that is in your emergency file, and add other important papers:

• Medical prescriptions, including eyeglasses
• Copies of children’s immunization records
• Copies of all insurance cards and policies
• Copies of the back and front of your credit cards
• Cash or traveler’s checks for several days of living expenses (credit cards may not work)
• Rolls of quarters (banks might not be open for several days)
• List of bills and when they are due
• Copies of the tax form 1040 for the last three tax years
• Copies of your home inventory list, which should include everything you own with serial numbers and purchase prices as well as photographs and/or video of these items
• Copies of any wills, durable powers of attorney, deeds, marriage certificates, military discharge papers, divorce papers and birth certificates”
If your home was built before building codes were initiated in the county, a closer inspection might be advisable. Most existing structures can be reinforced to protect against structure shift or to keep the roof intact in the event of damaging winds. Apparently gable walls are a particularly weak point in most buildings. “Gable walls must be able to withstand considerable pressure in high-wind storms. They are weak points in many homes. Reinforce gable end walls by bracing the gable wall to the attic floor.” gives the reader excellent information on these two topics as related to reinforcing your home. Check the local building codes for area requirements at this time if you have questions about reinforcements.