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Emergency management coordinator urges people to be prepared in storms

Published: Friday, Dec. 28, 2012 12:18 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Dec. 28, 2012 12:37 p.m. CDT

Winter Storm Draco left many people in Jasper County without power, and many citizens called emergency services for help. The problem with calling emergency services for non-emergency situations is that it can tie up resources that are needed elsewhere, and most problems can be avoided with proper planning.

“The only thing between people and panic is a plan,” Jasper County Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Sparks said.

Emergency services are usually stretched thin during a snow storm, and it can take time to reach those in need. Jasper County had citizens without power, and others were stranded on the road.

“Some of the things that happened on the interstate in the storm brought things to light,” Sparks said in reference to the traffic problems on Interstate 80. “It wasn’t in our county, but there were some pretty serious situations of people sitting on the Interstate for 11-12 hours. (There were) some medication issues, out of gas issues, there were ‘I gotta go to the bathroom’ issues. (There are) all these things that you don’t think about. People (emergency response teams) couldn’t get to them. Nothing happened, seriously. It brought to light it could’ve been serious.”

Sparks urged citizens that do leave the house to be properly prepared.

The website Ready.gov provides free information on what supplies are needed for traveling in a winter storm.

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