Technology in disastersOften when we think of disasters, we envision our entire existence being knocked backwards into the stone ages. The lights don’t work, the AC is out, and our food starts to spoil. This isn’t always the case. Sometimes, some of our critical infrastructure survives.

Thank goodness for battery powered devices like cellphones that allow up to access the internet and maybe telephone services. There is a myriad of technologies that can help you stay connected, help responders gather information and intelligence, and they can come together to help us all form a common operating picture (COP) of what is happening. In laymen’s terms, this is known as “the big picture.”

Some people have an unrealistic distrust in technology, but during emergencies, responders will use any and all means to gather information. From small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), commonly known as a drone to social media posts coming out of the effected area, we can collect data, collate and vet it into usable intelligence and then turn it around and rebroadcast potentially lifesaving information back to the citizens, thereby creating a common operating picture we all can use.

Remember, DeSoto County is the only official local information source you should trust. We have multiple means of sharing official information with you, such as our official Facebook page, media releases from the county available on radio and television news outlets. Never listen to gossip or rumors and especially don’t share or repeat unofficial information. Incorrect information could potentially cause people to make bad decisions that could lead to injury or loss of life.

For questions or more information about all the emergency management programs available in DeSoto County, please call 863-993-4831 or email eoc@desotobocc.com. Get emergency alerts by email, text or directly to your phones by signing up for “DeSoto Alerts,” a free service provided by DeSoto County Emergency Management, on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DesotoEM/. Click on the blue SIGN UP button to register and “like” our page while you are there.

Remember, the 2019 hurricane season is only two weeks away. It’s not too late to begin preparing. Do not wait until there is a storm coming to start your preparations because disasters of all types can occur at any time.

Here is this week’s shopping list for your kit. Shopping lists are just a guide. Please adjust to your family’s needs. Always check expiration dates. Make the item last as long as possible (at least through Nov. 30) and be sure to check in next week for our next shopping list.

Brian Newhouse is EM Coordinator for DeSoto County Emergency Management

Things to do:

Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are current. Get a copy of the records from your veterinarian.

Trim trees, fix loose gutters and fence boards.

Items to purchase (per person):

1 gallon water

1 can meat

1 can ready-to-eat soup and/or pasta

1 canned fruit

1 can vegetables

1 box quick energy snacks

Handsaw and/or chainsaw and fuel

Tarp for temporary roof repair

Battery-powered camping lantern and batteries

Blankets/sleeping bags

Portable camp stove or grill and fuel

Mosquito repellent

This list was adapted from a series by Candi Kelly, Manatee County Emergency Management

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