Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

April 26, 2013

Disaster Prep: Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

By AMANDA LOVIZA VICKERY
Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — As spring tornado season gets under way, local emergency management officials make sure to keep themselves prepared in case of any sort of disaster.

In Barren County, officials have a variety of ways to protect community members during emergencies, and also educate and prepare the public before a disaster strikes, Barren County Emergency Management Director Tony Richey said.

The county recently finished construction on 10 tornado safe rooms, with one more in the planning stage. Having proper safe rooms built help ensure that more citizens will have a safe place to turn the next time severe weather hits, Richey said. There are also 27 sirens in the county, set to alert the community if bad weather approaches.

Emergency management and emergency responders in Barren County are constantly monitoring for dangerous situations, and they stay on alert to help put the community back together if a disaster does hit the area.

“Our first responders are top-rate,” Richey said.

Emergency management maintains contacts in local health care and utilities services in order to jump into action as quickly as possible following a disaster, Richey said. Any time a storm or other emergency hits the area, a team is sent out within 24 hours to survey the damage and connect people in need with helpful resources.

A unique aspect of Barren County’s disaster preparedness is its Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). CERT is a volunteer organization for regular citizens to be trained in emergency management and response, said acting CERT chair Jim May. CERT members work closely with emergency management officials throughout the year in training and helping with community events, and that working relationship gives CERT members the foundation to be very helpful in a time of disaster.

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