Disaster training drills show agencies are ready

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Southwest Franklin County is in good hands as we continue our disaster preparedness program.

Multiple agencies came together to deal with a simulated severe weather event on May 5, requiring the mobilization of Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) in Grove City and the South-Western City School District (SWCSD).

With pinpoint precision, five agencies, including the townships of Jackson, Pleasant and Prairie, quickly came together and expertly handled all aspects of the disaster, from inception and rescue to damage assessment and recovery. recovery.

Long before the virtual EF2 tornado loomed over our beloved hometown, the Grove City Disaster Preparedness Team, led by Deputy City Administrator William Vedra, was creating the training event as part of our efforts continuously to be always ready in the face of an emergency.

Our partners at SWCSD were in direct and constant contact with the city’s EOC and were ready to send mock messages to families using their Infinite Campus messaging system. The communication between the two EOCs is simply exemplary and impressive to see.

Functional drill, focused on the implementation of plans, policies and procedures, included information injections to create opportunities to practice specific roles or functions in the event of an emergency. All city departments are involved, from the police and civil service to information services and community relations.

This is the third large-scale interagency functional exercise coordinated by the city since we launched our disaster preparedness program in 2016 and with each scenario I am increasingly impressed with the level of professionalism and coordination that everyone demonstrates.

It’s natural for me to be proud of the efforts I witness from all the agencies, but as the comments from third-party observers testify, I’m not the only one impressed. Dr. Donald Cooper, Executive Director of the Event Safety Alliance, observed disaster training and safety planning across the United States and shared in his follow-up written comments: “Collaboration between the school system and the city is among the best examples of collaboration in the state and perhaps the country.

Franklin County Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Jeffrey Young shared his thoughts, “This is a great example of local jurisdictions working to tackle (potential disaster incidents) head-on and create a more prepared and resilient community.”

Part of disaster preparedness is staying aware of the types of risks and disasters; the other part perfects the communication that enables transparent action.

Observer Jeff Warren, Battalion Chief for the Township of Norwich Fire Department, put it best: “As the incident progressed, it was apparent that their previous training had created a flow of very clear and predictable information. Sometimes it felt effortless and automated.

Disaster training exercises such as these are one of the best ways to prepare ourselves. Residents are also encouraged to take proactive steps, including signing up to receive emergency and event text alerts from the Town of Grove City and Franklin County. Just text the word GCALERT to 888777 to get started or visit alertfranklincounty.org for more information.

Planning for the city’s response to future incidents requires significant foresight and an organized effort to take proactive steps and minimize risk. Future training exercises are already in the planning stage.

Richard L. “Ike” Stage is the mayor of Grove City.

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