Friday, May 03, 2013

Webster County Residents Learn about Disaster Preparedness at Extension Program

Contact: Bob Schultheis, natural resource engineering specialist
Tel: (417) 859-2044

Twenty-four people attended the “Preparing for Disasters: Be Part of the Solution,” University of Missouri Extension program held in Marshfield on April 8. Attendees got a rundown of likely natural and manmade disasters that could hit the Ozarks.

They also came away with information on what goes in a disaster supplies kit, how to create a family disaster plan, and the steps to take to lessen the effects of disasters. Participants also learned about the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program and how they could become a part of it to help their communities.

In the first portion of the program, Bob Schultheis, natural resource engineering specialist with MU Extension, gave an overview of potential disasters that can occur in the Ozarks. The list of examples included fire, tornado, severe storm, flood, earthquake, bioterrorism, hazardous materials spill/leak, and an intruder/hostile event.

Schultheis explained to the group that without a plan, disasters get bigger. The unprepared become an added burden on emergency responders and others trying to help. Expect the 911 system to be overwhelmed, and be prepared to survive on your own for at least three days.

“Every home should have a weather radio to get advance notice of severe weather. You should also have a disaster kit and emergency plan for home, work and every vehicle,” said Schultheis.

He showed participants what goes in the kits and examples of potential hazards in the home and simple remedies for correcting them.

Schultheis also discussed how COADs (Community Organizations Active in Disaster) work, and encouraged the participants to get involved in this volunteer effort through their civic clubs or church.

Lisa McCarthy, Webster County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program Coordinator, presented the second session. She explained how CERT basic knowledge helps prepare someone to care for their own household, their neighborhood, their community, and their state.

“CERT members learn about first aid, CPR, fire safety, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, disaster psychology, and terrorism. Then CERT members can then assist as trained volunteers doing support tasks that allow emergency responders and agencies to concentrate on their primary lifesaving missions,” said McCarthy.

The Family and Community Education (FCE) Clubs of Webster County, the Webster County Extension Council, and University of Missouri Extension sponsored the program.

For online access to the class presentations and handouts, go to and click on the “April 8, 2013 Disaster Preparedness Class” link.

Printed copies of handouts are available for a nominal charge from the Webster County Extension Center, on South Highway A (next to city hall) in Marshfield, phone 417-859-2044 or email

To get involved in the CERT Program, contact Lisa McCarthy at 417-859-7959 or by email at


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