Consultant will be hired to help draft new emergency planning documents
It's time for Genesee County to update its emergency preparedness plans, and today the Public Safety Committee approved spending $89,355 of Homeland Security grants on a consultant to help get the job done.
Emergency Response and Global Security Solutions, out of Cadillac, Mich., has been selected to help Genesee County's emergency management team get local preparedness plans in order.
Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Yaeger said bringing in a consultant is necessary because of the time involved in preparing the plans, and to ensure that the written documents meet state and federal specifications.
"Completing a thorough plan that complies with state and federal regulations is very time consuming," Yaeger said.
The series of plans will cover responses from emergency personnel ranging from pandemic disease outbreaks to airplane crashes to extreme weather events.
The plans include ones on dealing with mass fatalities, special needs sheltering (for people, for example, with disabilities), animal rescue (dealing with pets when whole areas need to be evacuated and people don't want to leave their pets behind) and a comprehensive county plan.
"Once the plan is developed, that plan identifies needs, gaps to be filled and we start addressing them through training and exercises," Yaeger said.
Among the most likely scenarios emergency personnel need to be ready to deal with are ice storms or blizzards, Yaeger said.
After natural disasters, emergency personnel need to be ready to handle hazardous material spills, either because such materials are stored in the county or often get transported through the county on trains or in trucks.
Genesee County isn't a likely to be a priority area for a terrorist attack, Yaeger noted, but deadly diseases can strike anywhere, and officials and volunteers need to be be ready to deal with any such outbreak.