Last week, Best Self staffers attended the city of Smyrna’s Community Day of Action for Ready Smyrna’s PrepareAthon! The Day of Action included a city-wide tornado drill and a full scale exercise at Emory-Adventist Hospital. At noon Friday, the city activated its outdoor warning sirens to simulate the tornado warning. The city has strategically placed 10 sirens throughout the city to notify citizens of approaching severe weather threats. EAH also practiced the evacuation of patients due to damage from a tornado.
This is Smyrna’s first community-wide test in their PrepareAthon! campaign, which was launched in September. It is part of the nationwide campaign, America’s PrepareAthon! which strives to increase emergency preparedness, increase understanding of disasters and to teach citizens how to be safe and mitigate damage in the face of a disaster.
This was also the first test for the City of Smyrna and Emory-Adventist Hospital’s Joint Emergency Operations Center. Located on the EAH campus, the JEOC was developed in the fall of 2013 to serve as a single point of command for disasters and emergency management for the city and the hospital. During Friday’s drill the JEOC was staffed by EAH Incident Command, City of Smyrna Fire and Police departments, Cobb-Douglas Public Health, Georgia Emergency Management Agency and Metro Ambulance.
Smyrna is home to over 52,650 residents from all walks of life and Ready Smyrna’s PrepareAthon! aims to help them take steps towards personal preparedness, to increase their ability to survive a disaster and reduce economic devastation following a major crisis. According to a national survey conducted by FEMA in 2012, 54 percent of the U.S. population does not believe their community will experience a natural disaster. Only 39 percent have discussed a plan with their family members and almost 50 percent do not have supplies set aside in their home for use in a disaster. Hopefully by making people aware of community alerts and warning systems, both the national and Ready Smyrna’s PrepareAthon! can help change those numbers and teach people to be prepared in the case of an emergency, weather related or not.
Not only is Smyrna one of two cities in Georgia with their own Emergency Management Agency, they are the first community in Georgia to launch a preparedness and emergency alert app for their residents. The app is currently available for Android users and will be available for ITunes users in April.
“The first step in being prepared is being informed,” said Smyrna Deputy Fire Chief Roy Acree. “By simply downloading this free App, the users will be notified of emergencies including severe weather.”
For more information about Ready Smyrna’s PrepareAthon!, visit www.readysmyrna.com.