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Entire community safer because of Tucker

Posted: February 6, 2013 - 1:00am

This is Severe Weather Awareness Week, when local and state emergency officials remind everyone to prepare for bad weather.

Typically, the week is scheduled in advance of spring storms. But last week’s band of violent, deadly thunderstorms jumped the calendar, scraping a tornado across west Georgia and causing damage in a wide path.

Would you have been prepared if your home was wiped out, like so many on the other side of the state? We aren’t immune.

If you aren’t prepared, you have no one to blame but yourself. And if you are prepared, it’s possible much of your information about disaster preparation came from one source: Columbia County Emergency and Operations Division Director Pam Tucker.

There is no other person in the local community who does more to keep citizens informed about the need to protect themselves and their families in the event of a calamity. She provides endless information about preparedness long before storms arrive, and gives constant updates on conditions after they hit.

As those storms moved through the area last week, Tucker’s bulletins trumped anything any local media could produce – and, in fact, were the source for many of those reports.

That prompted this note from Appling resident Maggie Herrmann: “She is amazing at communicating with the public. Between her (Facebook) status and being on her email distribution list, I think I know everything going on in the county – emergency related and not!

“What a treasure she is to the whole CSRA!”

Herrmann’s last sentence carries a lot of meaning: When is the last time you heard messages of preparedness from anyone in the surrounding communities?

The truth is that the entire CSRA relies on free advice from Tucker. She’s become a de facto regional emergency management director just because of neighboring communities’ deference.

It’s a fantastic deal for them, and it only enhances Tucker’s value to Columbia County.

On March 1, she’ll celebrate her 35th year of helping keep citizens safe, and she says she has no plans for retirement.

That’s great news for everyone, because losing her really would be a disaster.

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