This is National Preparedness Month

OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee County commissioners recognized September as National Preparedness Month at their Sept. 19 meeting.

National Preparedness Month encourages Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools and communities.

Lake Okeechobee News/Katrina Elsken
At their Sept. 19 meeting, the Okeechobee County Board of Commissioners recognized September as National Preparedness Month. (Left to right) Commission Chairman Terry Burroughs presented the proclamation to Emergency Management Planner Amy Howard, Public Safety Director Ralph Franklin and Emergency Management Director Mitch Smeykal.

“National Preparedness Month goes back to the 1950s when we had national civil defense week,” explained Mitch Smeykal, adding that some older residents may remember the “duck and cover” drills.

“We are prepared for pretty much anything,” he said, adding that in his time with the department, the county has dealt with hurricanes, tornadoes, epidemics, flooding and Africanized honeybees.

“We want to stress: Help yourself. Help your family. Take care of a neighbor,” he said.

Commission Chairman Terry Burroughs complimented emergency personnel on their response during Hurricane Dorian.

“This last time the preparation for the hurricane was extraordinary,” he said.

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