Respond and Mitigate During an Emergency

Mitigation is the reduction loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters (FEMA). Although some hazards cannot be prevented, there are still several opportunities to reduce the impact on life, property, and your environment. During an emergency, it is important to remain calm. When you think clearly, you can respond appropriately. Learn how to identify your risks and eliminate hazards if possible.


Taking shelter is critical in times of disaster. Depending on the event, your shelter could be different. It is important to know the nature of the disaster and to inform yourself about the various sheltering options. If sheltering is not an option, be prepared to evacuate. Grab your important documents, medications, pets, and any other important items if you have time.

Stay in a safe area until danger passes. If flooding occurs, don’t walk in water above your ankles and don’t attempt to drive in flood waters.

If you have a portable radio, listen to it for important updates and/ or instructions. Radios should be battery or crank powered.

During an emergency, you should have a contact person who is outside of the affected area. This person is someone you will contact and let them know where you are, if you are safe, and how to contact you. Make sure all household members know how to reach your contact person and limit non-emergency phone calls if possible in order to minimize network congestion and conserve batteries. Also, if you are a Facebook user and we have an event significant enough, they will activate Facebook Safety Check.


Remember to stay calm and follow any local official agency’s evacuation instructions. If you have time, consider the following:

  • Consider removing any hanging objects outside. Bring any objects not nailed down inside.
  • Unplug appliances.
  • Shut off utilities to prevent additional dangers. Keep in mind you will need a utility company to turn your gas back on when you return home.
  • Protect indoor items.  For instance, in an event of flooding, move valuables upstairs.
  • Lock all your doors, windows, and garage before leaving.
  • Follow the recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts, as streets may be blocked.
  • Continue to monitor local media outlets for additional situational information.


In some emergencies you may need to turn off your utilities. You should know where electric, gas, and water shut-off valves are located and have the necessary tools accessible.

If you turn off your gas, you should have a professional turn it back on. Find more information on how to locate and shut off gas to your household.


  • Learn how to remain safe when dealing with power lines and other electrical equipment.
  • Learn about winter storm safety tips from NWS.
  • To report outages or view current outage, contact your electrical provider. DO NOT CALL 911 FOR ELECTRICAL OUTAGES.
  • Walton EMC
  • Georgia Power
  • Rayle EMC—no online reporting. Call (706) 678-2116 to report an outage
  • If power is out, keep your refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible to maintain the temperature. If you believe your food is spoiled, throw it out.


If you are outside, move away from buildings, street lights, utility wires, and overpasses. Once clear of these dangers, drop, cover, and stay where you are until the shaking stops.

If you are inside, get under a sturdy table or desk and stay where you are until the shaking stops. Stay as low to the ground as possible. Cover your head and neck with your arms if possible. Stay clear of glass, windows, and light fixtures. Don’t go outside until the shaking stops. If you smell gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately.

If you are in a moving vehicle, stop as quickly and safely as possible in a clear location. Make sure you are clear of buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires. Stay inside your vehicle, with your seat belt fastened until the shaking stops.


  • If flooding occurs, do not walk in water above your ankles and never attempt to drive in flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down; and 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Avoid underpasses, underground parking garages, or basements.
  • Stay away from rising streams, creeks, and rivers. 
  • Bring pets indoors.
  • Fill your vehicle with gas in case an evacuation notice is issued.
  • Bring outdoor belongs indoors, if possible.
  • Turn off propane tanks.
  • Keep storm drains clear of leaves and debris.
  • Charge your wireless phone, laptop, or tablet if you know a storm is coming.
  • If instructed, turn off electricity, gas, and other utilities.  
  • Listen to local radio or television stations for flood watch and warning messages. NOAA weather radios offer great information as well and there are a plethora of Smartphone apps with great information.
  • For more information on how to prepare for winter storms, visit Ready Georgia.


During a lightning or thunderstorm, take shelter. You may also want to consider the following tips:

  • Stay away from windows and doors. Draw blinds and shades over windows to prevent glass from shattering, if possible.
  • Avoid contact with anything metal or electrical. Unplug appliances, if possible.
  • Avoid taking a bath or shower.
  • Bring pets indoors.
  • If outside, find shelter immediately.
  • Avoid flooded roads.
  • Listen to your battery powered radio for weather updates.


  • Never leave infants, children, animals, or elderly unattended in a parked vehicle.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, even if you do not feel thirsty.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugary drinks as these liquids speed dehydration.
  • Eat smaller portion meals.
  • Stay indoors in air conditioning as much as possible.
  • If you must go outside, stay out of direct sunlight, wear sunglasses, and take frequent breaks.
  • Avoid outdoor activities in the afternoon and early evening.
  • Take cool showers or baths.
  • Check on elderly neighbors and keep pets cool by bringing them indoors.
  • Listen to local radio or television stations for current weather forecasts.