Now that You are Connected, are You Prepared?

By Shaunda Rauch on April 12, 2012 from Emergency Services Blog

 

Emergency preparedness is not the sole concern of the local fire department and police department … or those who live in “Tornado Alley” or those that live along the Gulf Coast because of hurricane season.  Bridgeport residents may be impacted by several types of hazards during a lifetime – flooding, hazardous materials incidents, severe winter storms, power outages, etc.  Americans also travel more than ever before to areas impacted by hazards that they may not be at risk of near their homes.  Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count. 
 
The mission of the City of Bridgeport Office of Emergency Management is to develop and maintain emergency plans and coordinates the use of city, county, state and federal resources to prepare, respond, recover and mitigate the effects of natural and man-made disasters on the citizens of Bridgeport.  The department has a three point focus approach. 
 

Operations:  Operations includes the resources and ability of our agencies to respond to and recover from a disaster.  The staffing and training of appropriate personnel to staff the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), training for damage assessments and overall emergency management initiatives encompasses direction being taken this spring.

Planning:  Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP).  COOP planning is an effort to assure that the capability exists to continue essential agency functions across a wide range of potential emergencies.

  • Commodities Flow Study.  This planning effort will determine what hazardous materials are travelling through our community by highway, rail, air and pipeline.  The information in this study allows the development of better disaster preparedness plans, helps to determine whether emergency response equipment is appropriately  placed and whether responder training is adequate, and can assist officials to minimize hazardous material releases.
  • Special Populations Support Plan.  This planning effort is in review to determine the effectiveness of the existing plan and resources to support our special needs population in times of disaster. 

Community Preparedness: Our goal is to empower our citizens with preparedness knowledge and simple, everyday steps they can take to protect themselves, their family and their property.  Some of the programs we have and are developing for community preparedness are: 

  • Nixle – receive e-mails and texts with alerts, watches and warnings pertinent to our area. Go to nixle.com to register.
  • City Watch – a reverse 9-1-1 system that will allow us to make phone contact with citizens in the event of an evacuation or shelter-in-place order.
  • 1620 AM (Emergency Alert Warning Station)
  • Map Your Neighborhood – A program that educates, trains and prepares neighborhoods for disasters.
  • Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) – A more advanced training program that equips citizens to come to the aid of their neighbors.

Volunteer in Police Service (VIPS) / Citizens Police Academy – April 19 – July 5, 7–9 p.m.  The Academy will educate citizens on the basic operations of law enforcement and allow them the opportunity to join the VIPS program where they will be able to use what they learned in the Academy on patrols in the community, provide traffic control for major events and various other tasks to assist the Bridgeport Police Department. 

Learning what to do in different situations and developing and customizing your plans for your local hazards, the locations frequented by members of your household and the specific needs of household members including animals will help you reduce the impact of disasters and may save lives and prevent injuries.
 
For information or to discuss local emergency preparedness efforts, please contact, me, Shaunda Rauch, Emergency Services Director at 304-842-8200 x 252 or via e-mail at srauch@bridgeportwv.com
 
For more information please visit the FEMA site:  http://www.fema.gov/medialibrary/media_records/7046

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