Oskaloosa.com

August 30, 2013

People encouraged to 'tackle preparedness'

By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA — “Let’s Tackle Preparedness.”

This is a slogan being used during Preparedness Month in Iowa, which is slated for September.

Mahaska County Emergency Management has collaborated with several other entities to create and launch “Let’s Tackle Preparedness,” according to Jamey Robinson, Mahaska County Emergency Management director. Those entities involved along side Mahaska County Emergency Management include Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Iowa Emergency Management Association, as well as Safeguard Iowa Partnership.

Having a partnership between these entities is key.

“In the event that something does happen, these people are going to be sitting at the table,” said Robinson. “So, it’s a win-win for everybody.”

When developing “Let’s Tackle Preparedness,” Robinson noted that the choice for spokesperson was obvious. Current New York Giant and former University of Iowa and Oskaloosa High School football player, Tyler Sash, serves as spokesperson for “Let’s Tackle Preparedness.”

“Oskaloosa is lucky enough to have Mr. Tyler Sash,” said Robinson. “Who better to talk about safety than a safety for the New York Giants?”

Individuals, as well as businesses, can become involved with “Let’s Tackle Preparedness” by signing a pledge at www.beready.iowa.gov. Any individual signing the pledge will be put into a drawing for prizes, said Robinson. These prizes include items signed by Sash.

“And as it stands right this second, Mahaska County is leading this entire state with pledges,” said Robinson Wednesday afternoon. “So, we’re about 85 percent of the pledges so far.”

Businesses can participate in “Let’s Tackle Preparedness” in three different ways including “Blitz,” “Flee Flicker” and “Hail Mary,” which are named after lingo familiar to any football fan. To find out what’s included in these different participation levels, visit www.beready.iowa.gov.

So, how often does disaster strike Mahaska County?

Robinson said that since 2007, the county has had four presidential disaster declarations. These declarations have come as a result of things like flooding and ice storms.

That’s not all.

Mahaska County has also experienced other disasters in the past six years, as well, that didn’t meet the presidential disaster declaration threshold. However, these disasters are no less serious.

There are still people who, in the event of a disaster, find themselves unprepared in Mahaska County. Robinson noted one instance in which he delivered infant formula to a rural Mahaska County home at 3 a.m. during a blizzard.

To keep up with Preparedness Month activities via social media, visit www.facebook.com/mahaskaema, www.facebook.com/letstacklepreparedness and www.twitter.com/tklpreparedness. People are also encouraged to visit the Mahaska County Emergency Management Web site at www.mahaskaready.com for more about Preparedness Month.

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Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at news2@oskyherald.com.

Check out this "Let's Tackle Preparedness" public service announcement featuring Tyler Sash: