Q&A with Nigel Poole on Storm Preparations

Published 9:51 pm Monday, August 28, 2023

Joshua Windus: First off, what are some basic precautions our readers can take against severe storms?

Nigel Poole: First, everyone should have a way to receive alerts, whether through radio or enrolling in the county’s free CodeRED service.

Second is having a plan in place. Where will you shelter in your home if the weather gets severe? What will you do if you are out and about in the road and are caught in a storm?

Third, build a kit. A kit doesn’t have to be big. Some extra clothes, toiletries, canned food, a manual can opener etc…having a supply of water to last you and your family for three days plus.

In summary, build a kit, make a plan, and be prepared. More information can be found at www.ready.gov.

Joshua Windus: If tropical storm Idalia turns into a hurricane, is it likely that Sumter County would be affected?

Nigel Poole: The tract that Idalia takes will determine the severity. We will certainly get some wind and rain. We are continuing to monitor the storm and share information as it comes out.

Joshua Windus: When would we likely see the effects of the storm?

Nigel Poole: As of today Monday Aug 28th, we are anticipating seeing the storm head into our area between Tuesday and Wednesday. We are likely to see the wind pick up as early as today. We receive information twice a day before landfall and will update as the information is disseminated to us.

Joshua Windus: What are some preparations the county is making for the storm?

Nigel Poole: Right now, the county is in the monitoring phase. We are watching the path and listening to the information given to us.

Joshua Windus: Should people avoid driving during the storm?

Nigel Poole: With Hurricanes or tropical storms you have advance notice. It is highly encouraged that you stay off the road during severe storms.

Joshua Windus: How do you normally alert people to storms of this nature? During the storm, or in advance?

Nigel Poole: The number one way we alert the public in the event of any kind of disaster is through our CodeRED program. To sign up for CodeRED text “AlertSumter” to 99411. Or you can visit the Sumter County webpage www.sumtercountyga.us and click on the CodeRED tab. This gives citizens the ability to receive emergency information on their cell phone, their house phone, or through texts and emails. Smart phones are not required. We also disseminate information through our Facebook page www.facebook.com/EMASumterCounty.

Joshua Windus: What are some of the safest places to be in a storm like this? What if someone is caught outside away from shelter?

Nigel Poole: We encourage you to stay at home and stay in a safe place. On the lowest floor of your home in an interior room with no windows or as few windows as possible. We have two emergency shelters. One is located behind the State Patrol Office on Hwy 19. The address is 137 William Bowen Pointe. The second emergency safe room is located behind the Sumter County Health Department at 1601 N. MLK Jr. Blvd.

Joshua Windus: Do you have any specific examples from past storms of how the county or citizens coped with storms?

Nigel Poole: During many severe storms the public has done such a wonderful job of supporting the first responders and those that come to help. Churches have opened their doors and the citizens of Sumter County have taken care of each other.

Joshua Windus: Any other comments on storm preparedness or the approaching storm, or anything else related to public safety?

Nigel Poole: Sumter County has a dedicated group of volunteers that are organized in our Citizens Corps program. Sumter County Citizens Corps information can be found on Facebook in a group called Sumter County GA Citizens Corps. We know that Sumter County citizens want to help, and this is a way to receive training and learn more about preparedness.