Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

May 12, 2013

Disaster preparedness

Program aimed at 'vulnerable populations'

Kenneth Hart
The Independent

ASHLAND — As part of an effort to make sure those in Ashland’s “vulnerable populations” are better able to take care of themselves in the event of a disaster, a local health official presented a seminar about spring weather preparedness Saturday for residents of the Shelter of Hope.

The program is a joint effort between the Boyd County Medical Reserve Corps and Americorps, said Kristy Bolen, reserve corps coordinator and the lecturer for the session.

Bolen, who’s also an epidemiologist with the Boyd County Health Department, said last year’s tornadoes that devastated parts of Morgan, Magoffin, Lawrence and Johnson counties helped make local officials aware about the need for such an initiative.

“We realized we had a lot of people in Ashland in vulnerable populations and we wanted to make sure they have the information they need to protect themselves,” she said.

The program was funded by a grant from the National Association of City and County Health Officials.

Additional lectures about severe weather preparedness will be given Saturday at Safe Harbor and on May 23 at the Community Assistance and Referral Service.  Next month’s workshops will focus on heat safety, and July’s topic will be safe food handling, Bolen said.

About a half-dozen residents attended Saturday’s workshop. In addition to taking a quiz to test their knowledge of storm preparedness, they received “goodie bags” filled with items that could prove useful in the event of extreme weather, including water bottles and sunscreen.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com.