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Bethel Steps Up Disaster Preparedness

The town of Bethel, hit hard by Tropical Storm Irene two years ago, wants to be ready the next time disaster strikes.

So people are stepping up their emergency preparedness on several fronts, including public education, local self-help and strengthening the town's emergency management program.

The public education front includes visits by a town emergency management team to every home in Bethel to provide families with information and guidance regarding risk mitigation, personal preparation and the basic elements of Bethel's emergency management plan and structure.

There are also tools to improve communications during disasters. One is a free smartphone app to send a message about a specific emergency need and have it show up on a web-based map at the emergency command post.