When disaster strikes, YOU are needed - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

When disaster strikes, YOU are needed

March 16, 2004

Camilla - Homeland Security continues to get stronger in America, but last week's multiple bombings on Spain's mass transit system proves you never know what's next. Nine-eleven opened our eyes to terrorism.

Here in south Georgia an All Hazards Council was created, not only to beef up security on the home front, but make sure help is available in your neighborhood

A disaster can be from nature or from man, but both can be just as unpredictable and horrifying. Lowndes County 911 Director Nick Lacey says, "Security has not always been a priority."

Lacey says September 11th, 2001 forced times to change. He's also the chairman of the GEMA Area 2 All Hazards Council. Volunteers from nearly two dozen south Georgia counties are joining the effort to prepare for the worst. Lacey adds, "We are a very vulnerable society."

One idea, the Citizen's Corps, starts with you.

  • First, there's neighborhood watches, but it's up to every community to create a citizen's council.

  • It can also be as simple as signing up to answer a phone during a disaster. That's something the Mitchell County Sheriff's office is familiar with. Receptionist, Merrie Johnson, says, "We've had several disasters here and we've learned from experience. It is very helpful to have people come in."

  • You can join a Citizen Emergency Response Team and learn first aid. Lacey explains, "The ability to take care of neighbors, not go across town, but to stay in the neighborhood."

  • If you have a medical background, you can volunteer for the Medical Reserve Corps.

Disasters are sometimes unstoppable, but being prepared is not. The All Hazards Council has already received grants to connect communication equipment between counties.

They also bought new robots for G.B.I. bomb detection and are starting to increase Hazmat training.

posted at 5:55PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com

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