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Today, Mr. Randy Howard, District 4 Representative and Chairman of the Sumter County Commissioners, and other community leadership, gathered in the Central Office of Sumter County Schools to share their plans and a Proclamation proclaiming the week of February 6-12, 2012, as Severe Weather Awareness Week 2012. Chairman Howard's Proclamation reads:

Each year Georgians face the threat of severe weather events such as lightning, thunderstorms, floods, flash floods, hailstorm, tornadoes and hurricanes, all potentially dangerous to life, health and property. Urbanization and continued population growth increase the potential for these storms to cause death and destruction and since this awareness campaign began in 1978, severe weather events in Georgia have killed at least 350 people, including 23 in 2011, injured countless others, and caused substantial property damage in Georgia. Departments and agencies of the local, state and federal government, along with volunteer and professional associations, elected leaders and news media, are committed to informing Georgia citizens about safety and severe weather preparedness procedures so that they may better protect themselves, their families and their neighbors.

Therefore, I, Randy Howard, Chairman of the Sumter County Board of Commissioners, do hereby proclaim the week of February 6-10, 2012, as "SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK" in Sumter County, Georgia, and encourage our citizens to become more aware of severe weather safety measures and participate in the various awareness programs scheduled during the week.
The Sumter County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) supports the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA) and the National Weather Service in observing February 6-10, as Severe Weather Awareness Week. Encouraging families to learn emergency preparedness and response procedures for all types of severe weather events is the goal of the observance with a daily focus on these topics:
February 6 Monday Family Preparedness/NOAA Weather Radio Day
February 7 Tuesday Thunderstorm Safety
February 8 Wednesday Tornado Safety (Statewide Tornado Drill)
February 9 Thursday Lightning Safety
February 10 Friday Flooding (Alternate Drill Day)

Additionally, Mr. Howard shared information about creation and implementation of a Severe Weather Plan.
1. Post emergency telephone numbers by phones.
2. Install safety features in your house, such as a NOAA Weather Radio, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
3. Inspect and correct potential hazards in and around your home. Following are examples: items that can move, fall, break or catch fire. Correct them.
4. Have family members learn basic safety measures such as: CPR and first-aid; how to use a fire extinguisher; and, how and when to turn off water, gas and electricity in your home.
5. Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1.
6. Keep enough supplies in your home to meet your family's needs for at least three days.
7. Assemble an emergency preparedness kit with items you may need in case of an evacuation.
8.Practice and maintain your plan.

Pictured at the signing of his Proclamation in the Central Office of Sumter County Schools, from left to right:
Chief John Ekaitis, Sumter County Fire Department; Chairman of the Local Emergency Planning Committee, Mark Long; Secretary/Treasurer Local Emergency Planning Committee; Rayetta Floyd, Dr. Roy Brooks, Superintendent of Sumter County Schools; Lynwood McClung, Chairman local Emergency Planning Committee; Chief Allen Ekhart, Americus Fire Department; and seated, Randy Howard, Chairman of the Sumter County Board of Commissioners.