The city’s all-hazards Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan provides a framework for mitigating, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters
BATTLE GROUND — When a typical day turns to anything but, the city must be prepared to respond. Over the last year we have witnessed communities devastated by flood, wildfires, violence, industrial accidents, and numerous other unexpected disasters.
The city of Battle Ground’s all-hazards Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) provides a framework for mitigating, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters. Without regular assessment and practice, however, the plan is just a document.
Earlier this month, members of the Battle Ground City Council and senior staff met with emergency management professionals at CRESA (Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency) to review and practice emergency response systems and procedures outlined in the CEMP. An exercise, simulating a collision that resulted in the release of a toxic, explosive gas, focused on the specific roles and responsibilities of City Council and city staff during an emergency event or disaster:
- First responders, Police and Fire/EMS personnel, act to lessen the immediate threat in order to protect lives and property. An incident commander manages the incident and makes tactical decisions.
- Other city staff, often referred to as second responders, perform a wide variety of essential duties to support both first responders and the community affected by the incident. Examples include coordinating resources, managing road closures and utilities, providing information to the public, and coordinating shelter and mass care for evacuees.
- The role of City Council is essential in providing policy directive, authorizing procurement of resources, and if necessary, declaring an emergency and emergency orders.
This kind of exercise is essential to identify and mitigate potential gaps in the plan, and in the application of the plan. When disaster strikes, response activities are critical and everyone at the city has a role significant to the continuity of city government and operations in order to serve the public need.
The city of Battle Ground is in the position of being the first municipality in recent years to open and review its CEMP with the assistance of CRESA’s emergency management team. The review and work began in 2017 and exercises will continue through 2018. The collaborative process will serve as a template for other cities in Clark County as they begin to assess and practice their plans.
Preparing for emergencies is important for everyone. The city’s Emergency Preparedness page at: www.cityofbg.org/Prepare contains resources for residents and businesses on how to plan ahead and receive emergency alerts and warnings.
Emergencies can happen anywhere and it is essential that everyone take action to prepare for the unexpected.
Information provided by the city of Battle Ground.