SIKESTON -- Hurricane Katrina clearly demonstrated that following a major disaster, government resources may not immediately be available for people.
In an effort to ensure local residents are not caught unprepared, the Sikeston Department of Public Safety has created a citizens' handbook for disaster preparedness.
This project is something DPS Director Drew Juden has wanted for some time, according to Capt. Jim Hailey, fire division commander for DPS.
"We started putting it together back in the summer," Hailey said. "We started working on it probably the first week of August."
The handbook is designed to assist the citizens of Sikeston and the surrounding area by advising how to protect themselves from natural and man-made disasters.
"It covers what to do in case of an earthquake, tornado, power outages, winter storms, fires," Hailey said.
In a recent press release on the handbook, Juden noted that this area sits on a major earthquake fault line, is prone to tornadoes and is located at the intersections of four major highways.
The handbook is intended to provide essential information so "people can take care of themselves at least for a few days until we can ensure help is here," Hailey said.
Included are tips on what to stockpile so citizens can sustain themselves for a minimum of three to five days while awaiting relief from outside the area.
A limited number of printed copies will be available after Jan. 1, but the handbook will primarily be a digital document so it can receive frequent updates, according to Hailey.
"We're going to have a few copies in print but we're going to depend heavily on the Web," he said.
The handbook can be viewed online at http://www.sikeston.org/
EmergencyMgmt.htm by following the "Emergency Management Info" link on the city's Web site at www.sikeston.org.
Hot links in a question-answer format will jump Web browsers to various sections in the handbook.
The online document also includes a link to download the handbook in PDF format.
While Hailey is the one who was tasked with putting the handbook together, "everybody on the Public Safety staff had some input into it," he said.
The addition of this handbook is part of the ongoing preparation that is being made by the Sikeston DPS. Juden said his department feels that it is imperative for citizens to remain educated and prepared.
"I would just encourage people to read it," Hailey agreed. "Some of these methods have been tried in other areas and we know they work. Hopefully we'll never have to try them here."