Preparing for an emergency

  • Thursday, February 8, 2018 12:12pm
  • Opinion

By Jon Nehring

No one likes to think about how we would respond in a catastrophe, but it’s important for individuals and communities to be prepared. The city takes this responsibility seriously. The goal of Emergency Management is to work to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from hazards (natural or man-made) impacting the city. Included in this is a range of emergency planning, preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation activities intended to minimize the impacts to people, the environment, the economy and property citywide.

Our city’s growth has increased demand for emergency preparedness, training and presentations. The City Council recognized that with increased staff and budget support in the 2018 budget. Marysville’s Emergency Management program is now directly managed at the city level, a common practice for cities our size that allows us to tailor programs specifically to meet the needs of our community. By operating independently, the city can compete for grant funding to help buy emergency equipment and supplies for our Emergency Operations Center.

We continue to enjoy strong partnerships with and employ resources from many other agencies including the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management and other county, state and federal agencies. The city’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan – the framework for disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery – complies with federal requirements and uses nationally recognized processes identifying lines of authority and multi-agency cooperation. Marysville offers several ways for residents and businesses to become involved, especially in prevention and preparation for disaster response. Businesses can access city services including business continuity of operations planning. This is important because economic recovery after a disaster is essential to long-term health. Resources for residents include CERT (Community Emergency Response Training), an eight-week course that teaches disaster preparedness and trains people in basic response skills including fire safety, search and rescue, and medical operations. The city offers CERT twice yearly. The next course beginning in March is already full. Look for another course announcement for a fall session in September. With Map Your Neighborhood, you can work with your neighbors to learn what steps to take immediately following a disaster, identify skills and assets in your neighborhood, create an emergency contact list to work together as a team when a crisis hits. For details contact Diana Rose at drose@marysvillewa.gov or 360-363-8096. In unincorporated Snohomish County, contact Michelle Boll at Michelle.Boll@snoco.org or 425-388-5064.

Emergency management professionals tend to talk about “when,” not “if,” a natural or man-made disaster will occur. In that event, we are likely to be on our own for some time before assistance from the state or federal level arrives. It’s in the best interest of the city, our businesses and residents to be as prepared as we can. You can find the city’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, resources and more details online at www.marysvillewa.gov/317/Emergency-Management.

Jon Nehring is the mayor of Marysville. His column runs each month.

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