By Dedra Cordle
The village of Urbancrest council unanimously approved the adoption of an emergency preparedness plan at its April 9 meeting.
According to councilwoman Alicia Wiggins, the intention of the plan is to provide guidance to community leaders in the event of a natural or man-made disaster and provide reassurance to the residents in its wake.
“It gives all of us a path to follow,” she said.
The impetus for the emergency preparedness plan sprung from the aftermath of a derecho that swept through central Ohio several years ago. During this event, the village and surrounding communities lost power for more than a week, putting at risk the lives of those with serious medical conditions.
“It was a mess,” recalled Mayor Joseph Barnes Sr. after a prior council meeting in which the plan was discussed.
Under the legislation, village officials will be tasked with assembling a response team and assigning responsibilities to each individual. That may entail using social media to inform residents as to what is going on or to direct them to safe locations in the village.
The plan also calls for the churches in the community to play an active role in emergency events, whether that be for spiritual guidance or a warm and safe place for residents to stay. It also suggests that officials reach out to the local YMCA to provide a place for residents to sleep, eat or charge their electronic devices. Wiggins said the churches and the YMCA played an integral role during the weather event and she would like to see that partnership continue in the future.
The legislation, which council agreed with be a “working document” so that modifications can be made, also calls for the increased use of social media by the village and a yearly review of the plan by the response team. The village recently set up a Twitter account, @VUrbancrest.
As for the resident’s part in the plan, Wiggins would like to see citizens sign up for ALERT Franklin County, Smart911, and consider becoming a member of the county’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Those who complete the free courses learn about disaster preparedness and become trained in basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations. For more information, visit their website at https://fcehs.org/volunteer/Franklin-County-CERT.
In other news, council announced a change in the purchase order for the speed and data capturing sign that was authorized last month. Wiggins said they had been informed by the sign company that they had purchased a less mobile model and made a motion to amend the order. With approval, council purchased the more mobile model at a cost of $3,365, which is roughly $1,000 less than the one ordered in March. It should take six to eight weeks for the sign to be delivered.