Smyrna Prepares For Emergencies

Smyrna October F 2013 016Is your family ready if disaster strikes? Whether it is a tornado, flood, or just a power outage, the City of Smyrna is working to help you be ready.

In September, the city of Smyrna launched Ready Smyrna’s PrepareAThon!SM, a community-based campaign for action to increase emergency preparedness and resilience. The new initiative is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) America’s PrepareAthon!campaign announced earlier this month in Washington, D.C.

Ready Smyrna’s PrepareAthon will raise awareness and promote action among residents, businesses, schools, faith-based organizations, and other community stakeholders.

“We will be providing resources and educational opportunities to prepare our citizens for all types of disasters in their daily environments” stated Smyrna Mayor A. Max Bacon.  “The flooding in this area a few years ago, last spring’s tornado in Adairsville, and the recent workplace and school shootings are risks we face in our own community.”

According to the National Weather Service, a tornado striking Smyrna similar to the one that impacted Adairsville would have caused substantial damage and potentially greater loss of life.  “The comparisons should be a wake-up call for everyone in Smyrna,” said the Mayor. The Weather Service says approximately 7,000 people would have been in the direct path of the tornado had it tracked over downtown.  In addition, researchers in Alabama and Mississippi have discovered greater occurrences of strong to violent tornadoes across the Southeast U.S. and not in the traditional “tornado alley” areas of the Midwest.

“Being prepared for the hazards we face is a shared responsibility,” said Robert Samaan, of FEMA Region IV. He noted that only 30 percent of Americans have a household preparedness plan.

Smyrna is the first community in the region to establish a PrepareAThon, which is scheduled in March, Samaan said.

The Red Cross’ Terri Bador-Ducket said there are numerous apps and websites that will “provide you with the tools you need for lifesaving action so you can come up with your own personal game plan.”

A new website for the public (­) will provide resources, educational materials, and preparedness tips.  The website is supported by the Ready Georgia initiative sponsored by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA).  “This is a great resource for anyone who needs preparedness education materials, customizable disaster supply kit lists, and descriptions of various hazards and risks in Georgia,” said Gary Kelly, GEMA Deputy Director of Homeland Security.

Smyrna and its disaster preparedness partners will provide education materials, workshops, and training sessions as part of the campaign. “We want to connect with every segment of the community to ensure they are properly prepared for any likely hazard,” said Smyrna Acting Emergency Management Director Roy Acree.

The education and preparedness campaign will be highlighted in the spring by a community-wide tornado drill and preparedness fair in March  of 2014.

Smyrna is partnering with other volunteer and community preparedness organizations on the initiative including the Cobb-Douglas Public Health Center for Emergency Preparedness and Response, National Weather Service, and the Atlanta Chapter of the American Red Cross.

“We are proud to partner with GEMA and Smyrna City Government to provide Smyrna residents information they can use in advance of emergencies,” said Terri Badour-Duckett, CEO of the Georgia Red Cross. “We never know when or where disaster may strike, but we all want to be ready to protect our employees, families, and our communities,”

For more information about Ready Smyrna’s PrepareAthon!, please visit or contact Acting Fire Chief and EMA Director Roy Acree at

From the October 2013 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton and Austell, GA.