The Press Newspaper
Townships and municipalities in Ottawa County are being asked to conduct inventories of their emergency equipment to determine if they’re sufficiently supplied to address their needs during natural disasters.
Fred Petersen, director of the county’s Emergency Management Agency, said the communities were asked to review their emergency systems such as sirens, generators, communications, and related equipment as part of the county’s mitigation plan for natural disasters, which must be updated every five years, according to regulations included in the Federal Emergency Management Agency Mitigation Act.
A final draft of the county’s plan must be filed with the Ohio EMA, Petersen said.
“One of the main components of the plan update is for the county and its local political entities to identify needed resources that communities can use to minimize the effects of natural disasters on those communities,” he said.
Local officials can submit requests to his office for resources, which will be included in the county’s plan update, Petersen said.
If funds from FEMA are available, they can be used to help with the costs of new equipment or updating communication systems.
“Another major consideration in the update is that any local citizen has the opportunity to participate in the planning process,” Petersen said. “If a resident wishes to provide input into the plan update, they can contract their community leaders to offer their participation.”
Residents will also have a chance to comment on the final draft plan, he said.
“The county will be able to alert residents about severe weather, fires, floods, toxic environmental issues and other emergencies,” said Warren Brown, county administrator.
Messages can be sent to residents by cell phones, land-line home phones, email, text messaging, or mobile devices such as personal digital assistants.
Residents in the county’s white page listings are being automatically subscribed to alerts by phone, Brown said, but residents may also register themselves and provide additional contact information.
Residents may also opt out of the service, he said.
The county also plans to use the system to notify residents about road closures and water or other utility matters.
“We take seriously our commitment to our citizens to protect them from any danger that threatens our community,” Brown said. “The ability to reach all residents quickly during an emergency to warn them and provide guidance is critical to upholding that commitment.”
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