County refines details of disaster preparedness plan

Friday December 10, 2021 by Seth Smalley

The commissioners’ tribunal met for a working session on Thursday to hear a presentation on the county’s disaster preparedness, particularly those in the vein of winter storm Uri last February. The briefing was a response to a resolution approved by commissioners on Nov. 16, ordering county leaders to flesh out the details of a disaster relief plan.

The commissioners’ initial suggestions for the contingency plan included purchasing and stocking supplies within the county compound, obtaining long-life meals, tire chains, snow vehicle equipment, portable generators, anti-frost materials and more. County leaders also discussed storable drinking water and mechanisms for communicating and working with the community during a disaster.

County leaders went through the plan step by step, reviewing preparations and highlighting areas of confusion and making policy recommendations.

Chuck Brotherton, county director for emergency services, pointed out that the current emergency management plan – a state-mandated document that every local government must create and maintain – still lacks a storm response plan. winter. During the discussion, Brotherton also identified the original resolution’s proposals and listed the items and information that departments would need to implement.

“Something is missing in this plan, which is explicit and detailed information on how we are responding to winter storms,” ​​Brotherton told Commissioners. “Honestly, we are not in a harsh winter state. It is a little lacking. “

He suggested the county work with an emergency management coordinator to strengthen the contingency plan to include winter storms.

The second policy suggestion from county leaders was that commissioners make clear and specific plans for how county leaders should focus on disaster preparedness.

“I suggest to the court that we make it more explicit – our disaster preparedness efforts. We explain this in our annual work plans and then link it to the work plans of our budget processes year after year so that each year we, the leadership team, identify gaps within our departments. Brotherton said. He proposed that the tribunal could identify the programs required as well as the financial and human resources needed to compete with these efforts.

Commissioners Ann Howard and Brigid Shea referred to communities across the country that are now bracing for sweltering heat.

“What I really think we need to do is take a broader look at the extremes of all time. Wildfires will absolutely be a reality in our community, so that needs to be incorporated as well, ”said Shea.

“I think when we talk about disaster it includes everything that has affected us. Floods, forest fires, winter, and so I think this disaster speaks volumes, “said Commissioner Margaret Gómez.

Photo made available via a Creative Commons license.

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