The Marshall County Commissioners received an amended county emergency plan from EMA Director Clyde Avery for approval.
Avery said the changes came from events during winter season when an emergency declaration was activated during blizzards.
“Some of the department heads felt that it wasn’t necessary to physically come to the emergency operations center. They felt that they could do pretty much the same job by virtual means. The other important component that was changed in the plan was where it basically puts the responsibility of implementing the emergency plan back on the commissioners instead of the emergency management agency director,” said Avery.
The participation of department heads in an emergency situation in a virtual manner may not be the best solution, according to Avery.
“During the tornadoes and the severe weather a couple of weeks ago, we had a power outage and lost internet capability which means that we can’t communicate by virtual means through the internet. When I’ve got four or five phones ringing at the same time it’s difficult to try and communicate with those folks on the phone and relay information to those folks that need to take some sort of action.”
He added that extra help in the emergency operations center could speed up efforts to relay information and to coordinate recovery efforts, if necessary.
The amended plan spells out what the roles and responsibilities of each department would be in the case of an emergency including communication, coordination and cooperation. Avery would like to have a plan where everyone knows what to do when a disaster strikes. He said the county has been lucky so far, but everyone needs to be prepared when that luck runs out.
The commissioners tabled the approval of the plan until the next meeting to further analyze the changes and decide what direction to take.