Prepared? You have 6 minutes to act

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This graphic shows the breakdown of age categories with smartphones.

Clinton County EMA

Note: The Ready Tonight series of articles by the Clinton County Emergency Management Agency to help promote disaster preparedness and increase resilience for all county residents.

September is National Preparedness Month. It is a great time for Clintonians to take steps now to ensure they are better prepared for any disaster.

On Jan. 9, 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPhone. There other were smart-ish phones on the market, but the iPhone was an evolution that drove competing brands to new levels shifting the focus from a phone to a pocket computer and created a global mobile app market. In 2018, mobile app revenues amounted to over $365 billion. So at this point, one would ask…“What does this have to do with disaster preparedness?”

One of the most critical tenants of disaster preparedness is “detect to warn.” Detecting a storm approaching to allow you to take action exponentially increases the likelihood you can survive. It gives you the time to act.

The Memorial Day storms that affected Montgomery and Greene counties resulted is a disproportionate number of tornadoes. The National Weather Service was able to provide advance warning to at risk areas, allowing those in its path time to act. The warning times ranged from 6-36 minutes.

What could you do with six minutes? You could get your family to safety, grab your emergency kit and emergency documents, and even call another family member to ensure they received the warning. Those six minutes can be a lifesaver.

So, who gets those six minutes? Most likely, those with smartphones constantly glued to their faces, or the 18-29 age group, with the clear majority of them owning a smartphone. Apps and disaster notifications have classically conditioned a generation into checking their smart devices every time they hear a chime.

Who in Clinton County is less likely get those six minutes? The Pew Research Center figures and results from the 2010 Census indicate about 6,611 county residents are aged 65+. Of that group, 6,016 may have a cellphone of some type (91%), and an estimated 3,188 (53%) could own a smartphone.

This could indicate 3,423 (over half) of those elder residents would be unable to receive mobile app technology for alerts and emergency messages.

How do you get your six minutes if you do not have a smartphone? You sign up for free warning notifications from CodeRED. You enter your phone number(s), address, and preferred ways of being contacted (text, phone, TDD, email).

In a couple of minutes, you can give yourself and your loved ones those precious extra minutes to act when disaster approaches. For more information, call the Clinton County Emergency Management Agency at 937-382-6673 or text “CLINTON” to 99411 for the link.

This graphic shows the breakdown of age categories with smartphones. graphic shows the breakdown of age categories with smartphones. Clinton County EMA

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