2018 Senior Issues Spring Conference focused on emergency preparedness

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The Senior Issues Committee of the Spalding County Collaborative hosted the 2018 Senior Issues Spring Conference on Wednesday at the Spalding County Senior Center.

The conference opened with the recognition of James Johnston’s daughters Beth Horne and Mary Johnston. Mr. Johnston had been the Senior Issues Committee Chairman for 10 years. The conference was dedicated to his memory.

The theme of the event was Emergency Preparedness. Over 50 seniors attended listening to the guest speakers, taking notes, and asking questions though out the presentations.

Ted Manolis was the first speaker. He demonstrated Personal Defense Techniques. Manolis is a certified Krav Maga instructor.

Emergency Department Chief Administrator Glenn Polk of the Spalding County Fire Department spoke on Natural Disaster Readiness and Fire Plans.

“It has become a passion of mine, especially since the tornados of 2011,” said Polk. “We saw them going through my neighborhood.”

Polk encouraged the crowd to “Be prepared. Have plans in place in case of an emergency or disaster. The more you practice your plans, the better off you will be.”

He was followed by speakers from the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office.

Chief Deputy Tommy Thomason and Lt. Frank Clark spoke on Community Policing and Crime Prevention.

Clark spoke to the attendees about “hardening” their home to make it safer. “Hardening your home will make it a hard target. Criminals look for easy targets,” said Clark.

He encouraged seniors to use landscaping to make windows inaccessible, lamps on timers when they are not home, and to consider a security system.

“Don’t open the door for anyone you don’t know,” said Clark. “If they won’t go away, dial 911 and let us deal with them.”

  Clark also reminded them to lock their cars. “Nine times out of 10, when there is a theft, the owner left the car unlocked.”

Sheriff Darrell Dix followed Clark and told the group, “We always enjoy coming to the Senior Center. You are very engaged and ask good questions. I have learned some things today too.”

He encouraged the seniors “when in doubt, call. You are not bothering us or inconveniencing us. It is our job.”

Dix told the attendees about Nixle Alerts available from the Sheriff’s Department. Nixle Alerts sends out up-to-date relevant information from local public safety departments. Go to www.nixle.com to register to receive alerts by email or by phone.

The Spalding County Sheriff’s Department, Three Rivers Area Agency on Aging, and WellStar Spalding Regional Hospital had display tables at the conference with brochures and free items.

The Senior Issues Committee of the Spalding County Collaborative members are Lauren Brown, Senior Center Supervisor; Janie Clark, Brightmoor Hospice; Mitzi May, Suncrest Home Health; Kim Stephens, WellStar Spalding Regional Hospital; and Toni Williams, Three Rivers Area Agency on Aging.

For more information on upcoming events at the Spalding County Senior Center, call 770/467-4385.

Landra Larson, Griffin Daily News 03/30/2018