Oklahoma Scenes Spring 2020 - Page 24

It Begins With Preparedness We Asked Our Local Emergency Management Teams How To Prepare For Emergencies Here Is What They Advised Bob Noltensmeyer Cushing Emergency Management cushem@cityofcushing.org 918-225-0277 Ext. 4135 Question #1: What is the ONE thing you really wish everyone knew about the work you do in the EM department? [Bob Noltensmeyer] It's not just about the weather! Fire, Industrial, Flooding, Earthquakes. There are 4 phases where we focus our attention to protect our citizens: Preparedness, Response, Recovery and Mitigation. Question #2: What do you consider to be the most important activity a family can do to prepare for an approaching potentially damaging Spring storm? [Bob Noltensmeyer] Understand and PRACTICE what to do in the event of an emergency situation. Fire, tornado, fl ood, or any type of disaster. Have a plan. Practice the plan. Think outside of the box! We weren’t thinking about a big earthquake in Cushing, but it happened. The Emergency Management Team were fi rst on the scene and had a plan already in place. Many citizens were caught off guard and didn't know what to do. So talk about it, make a plan and practice it. Have a "go" bag prepared with essentials you don't want to be without such as water, transistor radio, important documents, medicines, toilet paper. Have a bag for each member of your family and don't forget your pets. Pack a supply bag for your pets too. Rob Hill Stillwater Emergency Management sema@stillwater.org 405-372-7484 Question #1: What is the ONE thing you really wish everyone knew about the work you do in the EM department? [Rob Hill] Emergency management is guided by four phases; response, recovery, mitigation and planning. Each of these phases are just as important as the one before and the one after. Our offi ce spends an exorbitant amount of time in the planning and mitigating phases for all possible disasters that can impact our community. We work tirelessly with our internal core partners to build resilience into our plans. We train constantly to become better emergency management employees and to stay current on federal mandates. Even though there are four phases to emergency management, there are two primary areas of responsibility assigned to our offi ce. 1. Our primary responsibility is to the City of Stillwater, that is City government. Our responsibility is to ensure that each department, core service provider and responder is prepared to respond to emergencies, recover, mitigate those emergencies and plan for the next event and improve from their last response. Our second responsibility is just as important and often supported by the fi rst responsibility in keeping the citizens of Stillwater informed on what types of disasters can and will impact Stillwater. Our responsibility is to make sure that citizens have access to materials that will best educate and train them on responding, recovering, mitigating and planning disasters that impact them at home, work or wherever they may be. Our offi ce is also very lucky in the fact that we have 20+ volunteer specialists that work Ernie Willis Seminole Emergency Management ewillisok@aol.com 405-382-3702 Question #1: What is the ONE thing you really wish everyone knew about the work you do in the EM department? [Ernie Willis] We are the behind the scenes responders. Most do not realize how much training, testing, exercising and preparation that goes into effect in the event of an emergency. All of the days and months taken to prepare for a disaster will all take hold in only moments when it happens. We'll be at the ready. side by side with staff during emergencies and special events. These specialists train as we do and work with us during all phases of emergency management. Specialists put in approximately 2000+ hours a year (combined) in training, exercises and real life events. Question #2: What do you consider to be the most important activity a family can do to prepare for an approaching potentially damaging Spring storm? [Rob Hill] The most important thing families can do is communicate with one another. This can be completed by parents watching their favorite weather source and letting everyone in the household know what type of weather is expected for the day or week. Making sure that each person in the household has a go bag. This is a bag specifi cally designed with each member of the house in mind. It can contain toys, clothes, activities, important documents: banking, identifi cation, birth certifi cates, insurance forms, medications. Each member of the household should have a go bag. Then each member should know what to do wherever they are. Where to take shelter, or seek areas of refuge. Each member should know what to do at home, what the plan is, where to shelter, how to contact someone in the event of an emergency and know how to get important information about the emergency. And of course, we would be remiss if we did not mention to have electronic device chargers, fl ashlight, battery powered radio and at least two or three apps that can provide critical information for updates on events. And of course, sign up for your local mass notifi cation system to get reports from your local offi cials. Question #2: What do you consider to be the most important activity a family can do to prepare for an approaching potentially damaging Spring storm? [Ernie Willis] Have a PLAN! The biggest fear I hear of from families is "What if we aren't at home together when a disaster happens?" Families today are often caught out - and apart from each other - when spring storms hit for example. Family members may be at home, work, school, activities, shopping. Develop your plan to include what to do to shelter in place, how to contact each other after, and where do we meet if our home is not accessible anymore. Know what the protocols are at school, daycare, etc. It Begins With Preparedness Photo Taken By Enid News & Eagle 24 | Spring Scenes | March 2020