Officials work to boost Valley preparedness for natural disasters

Officials work to boost Valley preparedness for natural disasters

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - "Mother nature can throw curve balls, but its always important for us to be prepared," said Jonnell Minefee, president of the Chattahoochee Valley Community VOAD, who works with community preparedness and emergency response.

Last year, our neighbors in Atlanta learned a harsh lesson in preparedness when a winter storm trapped commuters on highways for hours on end. A similar situation for countless people in Kentucky this weekend trapped on icy roads overnight. Here in the Valley, we've managed to steer clear of snow this time.

"Our government, to a degree, is not going to have large salt trucks just waiting for something that may happen within a few days and be gone," said Minefee.

While we've dodged severe winter weather, mother nature has still shown us her fury. December floods caused extensive damage along both sides of the Chattahoochee River, but pales in comparison to previous flooding our area's seen.

"In the 1920's all of Columbus was flooded, you know it looked like Columbus was built on a lake," said Minefee.

Emergency managers met Monday night to better prepare Fort Benning, eight Georgia counties and two more in Alabama for all kinds of disasters. The meeting was to make sure cities and residents are prepared for emergencies at home and on the go. They say population and business growth continues to make the effects of local disasters worse.

"Back in 1953 there was an F3 tornado, killed about 300 people and caused millions of dollars worth of damage, back in 1953. Now if that same tornado hit our community would it cause more damage, more loss of life, of course," said Minefee.

While you may respond differently to various natural disasters, officials recommend keeping a food and water supply at home and in your car at all times. Essential such as batteries, flash lights, blankets and clothing are also recommended. This will help in a variety of emergency situations.

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