(EAST OOLITIC) - The residents of East Oolitic took steps Tuesday night to prepare for a disaster.
Retired Brigadier General Jonathon George addressed the crowd along with Lawrence County Homeland Security Director Valerie Luchauer, Sheriff Sam Craig, Shawswick Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bobby Brown and others.
The main point - it takes everyone working together to be prepared when a disaster hits.
George told the group the first step was to have a risk matrix list ranking disasters that would hit the area from biggest to smallest and then how the community would respond.
"I suggest the community break up into small groups to tackle the task," George says. "Have a group that handles basic needs like water, food, first aid, shelter, communication and so on."
When a disaster hits local communications are flooded with people calling in and out of an area.
"My suggestion is to team up with another small community in another state," George says. "The local lines will be all tied up, but you will be able to communicate long-distance. Relay the situation and they will then relay the information to the needed agencies."
Craig told the group to start small.
"Don't over tax yourself or the group," Craig says. "I have seen many try, they go full-force and then get burned out and drop the project. My advice is to take it one step at a time."
George says when it comes to terrorists attacks they can happen anywhere.
"It doesn't matter what we think, it matters what the bad guys think," George says.
Luchauer says the biggest threat locally is domestic terrorism.
"The economy is bad, someone loses a job, they begin struggling financially and are just trying to survive and hang on....the stress becomes too much," Luchauer says. "That leads to incident like shooting."
Luchauer says when you see something, say something.
"If something doesn't look right, or something is out of place or someone is acting strange, report it," she added. "Be aware of your surroundings. When you enter a building know where the exits are."
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