Metro-East News

July 15, 2014

Collinsville adopts new emergency operations plan for disasters

With a new emergency operations plan, city officials hope to be better prepared for disaster.

The City Council approved an emergency operations plan at its meeting Monday, outlining procedures in case of a natural or man-made disaster that strikes Collinsville.

"This is the first step in helping our city to not say, 'We didn't see this coming,'" said Collinsville Fire Chief Mark Emert, who presented the plan to the council.

The 212-page plan, prepared in accordance with the FEMA state and local guide, identifies potential hazards, sets down responsibilities for each governmental department and agency, and outlines the resources to be tapped to assist residents.

Among its tenets: "While outside assistance would be available in most large-scale disaster situations affecting the city, it is necessary for the city of Collinsville to plan for and be prepared to carry out disaster response and short-term recovery operations on an independent basis."

In a disaster scenario, the plan indicates that the police department would handle communications, damage assessment and evacuations while the fire department would handle health and medical/mass care response, damage assessment and other tasks. Public works, the county coroner and health department, even the shuttle bus all have assigned tasks, while the city manager handles public information and resource management and the mayor is in charge. It details the centers of operations, the kinds of disasters that could be faced and "disaster kits" to be developed by every department.

"It's very important to have a plan," said Mayor John Miller. "You don't want something to happen and not be prepared."

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