Public safety officials are urging Forsyth County residents to prepare for a variety of severe weather situations as part of an annual observance.
Today kicks off Severe Weather Awareness Week, which focuses on different topics through Friday.
"It is imperative that every household not only assemble and maintain a disaster kit, but also prepare and have in place an emergency plan," said Forsyth County Fire Chief Danny Bowman, who's also the local emergency management director.
"I encourage every resident to have a plan in place that every member of your household is familiar with. This will prove invaluable in times of emergency."
According to the county government, developing an emergency plan should include picking two places to meet in the event of a fire or other catastrophe.
It should also include discussing what to do in the event of evacuation and choosing an out-of-state contact in case family members get separated.
Recommended items for disaster supply kits include a weather radio, flashlight, extra batteries and a three-day supply of water.
Fire Capt. Jason Shivers said it's important to remember that the county's 12 severe weather sirens are designed to be heard by people who are outside.
They are not meant to be heard by people who are indoors, though they sometimes are.
"If you hear them, that means seek shelter immediately," Shivers said. "We only sound them during tornado warnings."
According to the National Weather Service, tornado warnings mean that a tornado has been spotted or is expected to form soon.
A tornado watch indicates that a tornado is possible in the next few hours.
Residents can pick up a disaster preparation brochure at the Forsyth County Public Safety Complex and county administration building.
For more information call the emergency management agency at (770) 205-5674.