The city adopted an updated plan last week that outlines the need and objectives if a disaster strikes Union.
City Administrator Russell Rost, who also is the city’s emergency management director, said the plan identifies risks, and specifies ways to mitigate those risks.
“When something similar to Joplin happens, the community is standing on its own for the first 72 hours before it receives additional assistance,” Rost said. “We want to make sure we can do that.”
He added that the city had a plan in place, but needed to make changes to keep up with state and federal mandates.
“It is the responsibility of the governing body of a city to have a plan and ours is getting old,” Rost said. “I have taken classes as emergency management director that instructed this plan as a priority.”
According to Rost, the board of aldermen listed the plan as an objective as part of the emergency management director’s position.
“The goal is to get this plan in place so we can respond to an emergency and work to mitigate hazards in the community,” he said. “In the event that something occurs we want to respond adequately.”
Rost explained that 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.
“I feel pretty good about the document,” said Rost. “It is based on all the hazards that could occur within the city.”
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.
Rost said city staff members and elected officials must become familiar with the plan in order for it to be effective.
“The next thing is to train everyone on the plan,” he said. “We will be beginning seminars and then discussions.”
The plan will be reviewed annually.
“After that, we will begin exercises and then look into obtaining grants to help fund the program needs,” Rost added.
Rost said there most likely will be full-scale exercises of the plan each year.