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OUR VIEW: Trying to be prepared for disasters

On Tuesday, EAMC-Lanier Education Center conducted a joint agency disaster preparedness exercise in Valley, Lanett and West Point.

It was a community-wide effort among local Fire & EMS departments, the Chambers County EMA and 9-1-1 Center, Lanett, Valley and West Point, Chattahoochee Hospice, EAMC Home Health Services, the Alabama Department of Public Health and EAMC-Lanier Hospital. The drill was designed to simulate the events if an EF-5 tornado were to touch down in our community.

This exercise provided hands-on, real-life scenarios acted out by members of the community, including 17 students from Valley High School.

Disasters can strike at any moment and they do not follow city, county or state lines, so the coordinated drill utilizing all the area’s resources means our first responders are well-trained to work in collaboration with one another.

Although it may seem rare, these exercises actually take place fairly regularly. According to Valerie Kambeitz with education department at EAMC-Lanier,  disaster drills are conducted several times a year at the hospital and at least once a year with all the departments.

We’re sure first responders down the road in Beauregard didn’t expect to respond to a catastrophic tornado earlier this year. Unfortunately, bad things happen and our first responders have to be prepared for a number of natural disasters, as well as other dangers. 

Of course, first responders aren’t the only ones who should prepare for the worst. We also should make emergency plans for our families, just in case disaster strikes.

Preparation for a catastrophic event begins with planning and ends with execution.

Here are some common-sense tips each of us can use to help keep our families safe.

4 Stock up on emergency supplies. These range from water, prescription medications, first aid kits, generator and gas.

4 Have an emergency plan. Much like the one conducted Tuesday, every household should practice executing this plan several times a year.

4 Have emergency contacts. In the age where numbers are programmed in phones, we often forget that once a phone battery dies we are left to our own memory when needing to contact a loved one. Whatever way you chose to prepare, just be prepared — at all times.

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