McDonald and Newton Counties team up for National Preparedness Month


“You don’t have food or water and you’re out of electricity, you’re low on gasoline and you can’t get to the store, but because the store is out of electricity you can’t get gas in your car. So, there’s all of those things that just happen out of the blue,” explained McDonald County Emergency Management Director Gregg Sweeten.

McDonald and Newton County emergency managers are spreading the word about what to do in case of an emergency.

Both counties are using social media to promote emergency planning ideas from FEMA.

“We are limited on staff and what we can get out and do,” said Newton County Operations Chief Greg Hickman. “We found out that going through social media, it’s probably our best avenue of getting people aware. I know presently, we are a little over 4,000, almost 4,600 people on our Facebook page.”

Each year, FEMA will educate people to take time out of their day and learn about preparedness.

They ask individuals to do three things — get an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan, and be informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur in your hometown.

“People need to be aware that they can take care of themselves or need to be able to take care of themselves for a certain amount of time because during a large disaste,r such as the hurricane that is going on, those people won’t see responders,” Hickman explained.

“They have to be prepared for whatever disaster that might come along, so we want them to realize we can’t do everything for them,” Sweeten added. “They have to start on their own.”

McDonald and Newton Counties want all to be prepared and not scared in response to a potential emergency. Sharing FEMA’s insight is one step closer to educating and empowering others.

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