Dothan-Houston County EMA to Work On Disaster Plan

By: Deanna Bettineschi Email
By: Deanna Bettineschi Email

In case of an emergency like a hurricane or tornado, the county has a plan in place to keep the public as safe and as comfortable as possible.
And they say the plan can always be improved.

Even before a hurricane makes landfall or a tornado touches down, emergency management officials have swung into action.
They have an action plan in place that's meant to make things go smoothly, but there can always be flaws.
And those flaws are what county officials are working on now, before a disaster happens.

“We want to look at the process we used to get the community ready to go and make sure we are doing it well and how can we improve.” Emergency Management Director Clark Matthews said.

Although hurricane Isaac didn't hit our area, e-m-a officials used it as a practice run.

“Our sheltering program we had a couple hiccups there we can do better.” Matthews said.

But it's not only the shelter situation officials want to work on.
They want to make sure everyone has a disaster plan of their own, even if there isn't a threat.

“In the Isaac scenario we had days to get ready but in a tornado scenario we have minutes to be prepared.“ Matthews said.

Officials say having a preparedness kit ready with items like canned goods because right when hurricane season ends, tornado season picks right up

“So everybody should have their kits they should be ready two of the biggest things we promote is to have a weather ready and text message program in this day and time.” Matthews said.

Officials say studying other disasters across the nation can also help the county improve.

“We always try to follow up lessons learned and lessons learned don’t have to be from us. Lessons learned can also be from other storms like Tuscaloosa.” Dothan Fire Department Battalion Chief Peter Webb said.

Webb and other city leaders want to continue having these meetings to learn from past mistakes.
He says they also want to send out emails with tips on "how to prepare" not only before a hurricane but throughout the rest of the year.
That way the media can relay those messages to residents.

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