HYDE PARK–Plans to improve emergency preparedness education for council members and residents was presented at Wednesday night’s City Council meeting.Brian Pots, from the Smithfield Fire Department, announced that the date of the citywide mock disaster originally planned for May 8 has been moved to Saturday, May 15 from 9-11 a.m. The mock disaster will include residents faking injuries and residents acting as volunteers needing instructions, and it will test the ability of council members and city staff to handle a disaster situation.”The city government is responsible for responding to this, and the government mandates to make them responsible to prepare and respond to emergencies in their community,” Pots said.Pots said during an emergency people will want to know where to get help and will request resources, and people will want to know where they can offer help. How those resources being offered will be allocated is up to city staff to manage.During Pots’ brief presentation he said he would like to take a short time every council meeting over the next year to teach the council and city staff management principals.By teaching the city how to manage an emergency operation center, Pots said maintaining business continuity and going on with life as a community after a disaster can occur more easily.Pots said education is important to emergency management. “Educate the individuals and families to take care of themselves and if a family can take care of themselves and their neighbors it just lessens all the problems that can occur,” Pots said.Communication is key according to Pots, and Hyde Park already has an amateur radio network in place. Furthering the development of a communication network will also be worked on.Pots encouraged the council to come to meetings with questions and examples specific disasters they would like to get a better idea of how to manage.Pots told the council, “The goal is that you will feel confident and comfortable that if it ever happens to us, that you will have some structure that you can rely on.”
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