The head of Delaware County’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management gave a primer on what the agency does to make the best of bad situations at a recent Delaware City Council meeting.
“If you were to summarize what emergency management does in one sentence, it would be to reduce the effects of disasters and emergencies on a population,” Director Sean Miller said. “Emergency management is very closely related to civil defense and it has become meshed with homeland security.”
He said that emergency management involves a lot of work with county, such as a Mitigation Plan.
“It looks at the hazards and risks posed to an area, looks at what can be done to reduce them over the long term,” Miller said. For example, an action that mitigates flood risk is acquisition and demolition of flood-prone properties through federal grants. We’ve been able to do that in Scioto Township.”
He said the agency has bought two properties, and is talking with another.
“If it floods in the future, then it’s an open field and then you don’t have flood claims associated with that, and most importantly, people are taken out of harm’s way and first responders don’t have to go out and rescue you in a flood.”
Other plans in place include the countywide emergency operations plan and specific plans for problem such as floods and severe weather and hazardous materials.
The office is currently the administrator of a Special Needs Registry, which Miller said started in Liberty Township and went countywide in 2010.
“That registry enables first responders to have pertinent medical information before they arrive at an address,” Miller said. “It’s also a terrific planning tool for emergency management because if there were a large-scale flood or a hazardous materials incident, we can pull up where those residents live and potentially provide additional assistance if needed.”
Miller said his office has done a lot of grant work, as well.
“For example, we’ve been able to secure for the Delaware Fire Department a light tower, a generator and other equipment over the past several years. We’ve also done a lot with training grants as well for some of the hazardous materials.”
“The grants have certainly helped us,” said Fire Chief John Donahue. “One of the hazard mitigation grants we did receive two years ago was the protective covering for the flooring at the YMCA.”
The Delaware County Emergency Management agency will join forces with the Union County Emergency Management Agency to host the 2014 National Weather Service Weather Spotter Course at 7 p.m. April 8 at Buckeye Valley West Elementary School, 61 N. 3rd St, Ostrander.
The free course on flooding, lightning, severe storms and tornado safety will be taught by a meteorologist from the Wilmington Ohio National Weather Service Office. It will last 2.5 hours.
To pre-register for the course, call 740-833-2180 or visit www.delcoema.org.