JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – When an emergency or natural disaster strikes it is important to have a plan. Recently, city officials in walnut ridge introduced an emergency manual to be able to respond quickly during those critical times.
The fire department in walnut ridge takes pride in protecting the community. "The citizens of walnut ridge pay for this service and they deserve the best service that we can give them," says fire chief Allen Haskins, who recently put together the emergency operations manual. "With us training through the system we kind of know how these things work and felt it would be the best thing for us. Be a guideline for any type of disaster that might come into town."
When the storm clouds rolled in Friday, they were prepared, "We knew where we were going to go before it actually happened and what we were going to do before it actually happened."
The manual is not limit to just weather disasters, it is also geared toward earthquakes, terrorist attacks, even hazmat type situations. Considering Walnut Ridge has a number of railroads going through town carrying hazardous materials, there is potential, "Union pacific is blocks from the school if we to have a train turn over, that's something else that this handles the manual and depending on what time of day or time of year it is, if school's in session that could be a big disaster," says Haskins.
For the manual to even be effective during disaster type situations, there has to be training, "We have training weekly and have drills, we also have monthly training, we have yearly training with everybody, and we all work off these manuals and procedures so when something does happen we know what's in place and what we are going to do. It's almost second nature...it has to be."
Haskins feels that it will definitely be beneficial for the citizens of walnut ridge, "Everything's worked out perfect for us from the mayor all the way down to any city employee. we have a place for everybody to go and something for somebody to do."
The town has formed a committee headed up by the mayor to oversee the manual and handle any updates that might need to be done in the future. He adds it's not only important for the city to have an emergency plan, but you should have one for your household as well. For ideas on how to prepare your home just go to http://www.ready.gov/.