GALLIA COUNTY — Gallia County 911 and Emergency Management Agency (EMA) are preparing for National Emergency Preparedness Month which started Monday and ends on Oct. 10.
911 and EMA are the two local organizations that deal directly with local disasters – 911 being the first point of contact for the public and EMA coordinating emergency services and disaster response to the most needed areas first.
According to Sherry Daines, 911 director for Gallia County, there are three steps the public should take to mitigate damage and loss in a disaster – make a plan, have an emergency kit, and pay attention to alerts.
“In a recent flash flooding incident, we had individuals that confirmed they had the notice, but they ignored it,” said Daines. “We heard that some people woke up in bed and set their feet down in water.”
Daines stressed the importance of heeding warnings from the National Weather service and alerts from their Everbridge program, a free notification system for the public regarding emergency notification.
Sign up for the Everbridge system by calling 740-441-2036 or by visiting their website at gallianet.net/index.php/emergency-services/lepc-ema/about-lepc-ema# or by visiting them on Facebook.
Tim Miller with Gallia EMA gave several important steps for people in the midst of a disaster. He explained the need for individuals to contact family outside of the disaster area if possible. In the case of flash flooding, people should never attempt to drive through water. If it is flash flooding, stay in place if possible. Only try to move if there is no safe ground.
In a backwater flood situation, there should be ample time for notification to evacuate certain areas according to Miller.
Preparations for emergencies should include items most take for granted as well, explained Miller. Having cash is necessary, as ATM’s and debit cards do not work if the power is out. Extra medications for several days is also important to have ready in case you cannot get to the pharmacy. Persons should also consider their pets when planning ahead, keeping enough food in stock in case of an emergency.
“The most important thing people can do is to plan ahead. Have your kit in the garage or a closet that you can get to quickly and go,” said Daines.
Daines and Miller both encourage the public to visit ema.ohio.gov to learn about what should be in an emergency kit, how to plan ahead, and what to do in different kinds of emergencies.