Elected city officials and city department heads completed another round of emergency management training earlier this month, and are expected to be certified by early next year.
City Administrator Russell Rost said aldermen and city staff members must meet varying requirements to comply with the city’s emergency management plan that was updated earlier this year.
The plan earlier outlines the need and objectives if a disaster strikes Union.
Rost, who also is the city’s emergency management director, said the plan identifies risks, and specifies ways to mitigate those risks.
He added that the city had a plan in place, but needed to make changes to keep up with state and federal mandates.
According to Rost, the board of aldermen listed the plan as an objective as part of the emergency management director’s position.
The city hired a private contractor, Jason Campbell, who has a master’s degree in emergency management to complete the plan. Campbell was hired on a part-time basis.
Campbell holds training sessions and then officials must pass an online test for certification.
“The board and department heads must meet different levels of certification based upon job duties,” said Rost.
Union Police Chief Norman Brune, City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann, Public Works Director Harold Lampkin and Rost must reach a higher level of training to better know how the city’s emergency management plan operates.
“Those who have the potential of being in command of emergency operations must know how the command center operates so everyone is on the same sheet of music based on duties,” Rost said.
He added that aldermen are working toward certification and he expects all officials to have passed the test by January.
“When we have election in April, if there are any changes in elected officials, they will have to go through it too,” Rost said. “It will be a continuous process to keep people certified at the right level.”
Rost said the goal was to have each official and staff member trained by June 30, the end of the fiscal year.
The plan will be reviewed annually.
Rost said there most likely will be full-scale exercises of the plan each year.
Objectives of the emergency management plan include:
• Prevent avoidable disasters and reduce the city of Union’s vulnerability to any disasters that might occur;
• Establish capabilities necessary for protecting residents from a disaster and its effects;
• Respond effectively to a disaster that occurs within the city of Union; and
• Provide for the timely recovery following a disaster that has impacted the city.