CLINTON — Local authorities say there are many ways to prepare for disasters.
“Disasters can strike at any time and being prepared is a family’s best defense,” Amber Wood, executive director of the Gateway Area Chapter of the American Red Cross, said.
The local Red Cross has trained the community to respond to emergencies for almost 100 years. Wood added that as the world changed, the Red Cross' methods changed, even as its mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering remained the same.
According to Wood, making a plan is an important step in making sure members of a household know what to do in an emergency. All members should work on the plan and know how to reach each other. These plans should include designating a meeting place right outside the home in case of a sudden emergency like a fire, determining a location where everyone should meet if they can't go home and planning to have an out-of-area emergency contact person.
Clinton County Emergency Management Director Chance Kness feels the county has worked to prepare for local disasters. In 2009 and 2010, a siren system was added in the rural area to warn people of oncoming storms. During the past few years, work has been done to provide emergency generators to pivotal facilities across the county.
"Anybody that says they are absolutely prepared for anything is probably stretching things," Kness said.
Kness added that the county continues to add systems and training and has to maintain what is in place. Emergency Management holds various training, including hazardous material courses and Community Emergency Response Team education.
The Red Cross also offers first-aid training and other courses. Class costs range from $30 to $35. Those interested in taking one of these classes should visit www.redcross.org/takeaclass.
“Everyone must be prepared to take care of themselves and their neighbors in an emergency,” Wood said. “No one can predict where or when disasters will strike, but preparedness steps taken today can save lives tomorrow.”