County was ready

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Residents in some communities of Covington County are still breathing a sigh of relief today after the county dodged the worst from a line of storms which arrived early Friday morning after having caused devastation in parts of Mississippi and other portions of the southeast.

At one point Friday morning, a tornado warning was issued for Covington County after the National Weather Service reported that a tornado had been spotted in the Sanford community.

Fortunately for our residents, the county was spared the worst of the Friday storms, other than a few scattered power outages and minor flooding.

While it appeared early Friday that Covington County might be in for an ominous day of rough weather, the sun eventually broke out and the day ended in beautiful fashion.

It was definitely not as bad as it could have been for our area, but nevertheless, emergency management officials such as Susan Carpenter and her staff at the Covington County Emergency Management Agency were on top of things from the get-go Friday morning and prepared to take whatever steps necessary to help the county recover from what could have been a devastating situation.

There is no doubt that W.B. Stewart and his staff at the American Red Cross also had a very detailed plan in order if the storm had matched some of the initial forecasts.

It is never easy trying to totally pinpoint what Mother Nature has in store for us, especially in a county such as Covington County where the weather has historically been very eccentric at best.

Which is why it is so imperative that local officials always have a solid plan in place in order to deal with every possible weather situation, from tornadoes to hurricanes.

Carpenter and her staff work to achieve this objective on a daily basis, and there is no telling how many lives have been saved because of their efforts.

The safety of residents in Covington County is of course the main priority for this staff, but almost equally as important is the education which the EMA provides to persons of all ages in the county.

This is achieved through methods such as the distribution of literature and even through presentations at local schools.

It is easy of course to single out the EMA as it is expected to be the foremost emergency agency in the county, but even their work would not be nearly as effective without the assistance of numerous volunteers such as HAM radio operators, who are often overlooked and totally underappreciated.

Putting together a solid plan of action in case of an emergency event, or even with the threat of one is no doubt a team effort, and although some people may garner more of the accolades for the efforts in emergency service, all of those people who play even the most minuscule role in helping to achieve safety for Covington County citizens truly deserve a pat on the back and our fullest appreciation.