HERMANN — As spring arrives in mid-Missouri and brings with it the threat of severe weather, Gasconade County Emergency Management Director Clyde Zelch wants residents to be ready for whatever …
HERMANN — As spring arrives in mid-Missouri and brings with it the threat of severe weather, Gasconade County Emergency Management Director Clyde Zelch wants residents to be ready for whatever might happen.
“If more people were better prepared, it would be less of an emergency,” Zelch told the Gasconade County Republican Friday morning, two days before the calendar formally announced the arrival of spring.
To that end, the EMD is working to make county residents aware of the need to be prepared for any number of emergency situations — from sudden downpours that create flooding to tornadoes to a mishap at the nuclear power plant two counties away.
“I believe most people in the county aren’t as prepared as they need to be,” Zelch said.
To help residents be more prepared, the EMD is offering a multi-item checklist of basic things a family will need:
• Bottled water (1 gallon per person per day; try to have at least 3 days’ worth).
• Bleach (8 drops of bleach per gallon when using).
• Firearms and ammo.
• Food: Canned or dried (requiring no refrigeration) for all family members and pets, disposable plates and utensils and a manual can opener.
• Flashlight, candles, matches, fire starter.
• First-Aid kit, antiseptic wipes, disinfectant soap.
• Prescription medicine and over-the-counter medicine usually taken.
• Cash with focus on smaller bills.
• Toilet paper.
• Feminine hygiene products.
• Baby items, including formula, baby foods, diapers, wipes.
Zelch also noted that family should keep a bag containing these items and copies of important documents ready to go in case of an emergency forcing them out of their house.
Zelch said he, also, has taken steps to be prepared for whatever emergency might strike.
“Strategically placed throughout the county I have supplies,” the EMD said. “It’s spread out, so if we have an emergency in different parts of the county, it’s accessible,” he added.
Unlike his counterparts in most of Missouri’s other counties, Zelch’s focus isn’t just on weather-related emergencies.
“What makes us unique is that we’re one of the four counties around the Callaway Nuclear Power Plant,” he said. The four — Gasconade, Callaway, Osage and Montgomery — are downwind and in the Ameren power plant’s immediate radiation zone. Much of Zelch’s work in the county’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is done in conjunction with preparedness personnel at the power plant. Zelch, in his second year as EMD, received high marks for his first drill dealing with issues from a simulated incident at the plant.
Zelch also has been instrumental in helping make the courthouse more secure for employees after the County Commission adopted a proposal to bolster security that includes better video monitoring of the courthouse and its grounds.
“By the end of this month, the security system here is going to be installed and up and running,” he said.
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