Archive for Thursday, January 19, 2006

Police chief plans to test preparedness with emergency drill

Basehor City Council slated to review new emergency plan next month

January 19, 2006

Disaster is coming to a neighborhood near you.

OK, maybe that's a bit bold. But, it's that sense of high alert that Basehor Police Chief Terry Horner wants area officials to be poised with later this year when he puts the city's new emergency management plan through a dry run.

Last year, city council members directed Horner to update the city's emergency management plan. The plan hadn't seen a major revision since the 1970s.

Horner, who recently submitted a timeline for completing revisions to the emergency plan, hopes to gain council approval of the plan in February.

In March, he's planning to run the city through a drill of responding to a crisis.

"We need to run through the motions one time so we can make sure everybody is on the same page," the police chief said.

The emergency scenarios most likely for Basehor, Horner said, are natural disasters. More specifically, he pointed to power outages caused by an ice storm or a tornado touching down inside a residential area or at a local school.

"If either of those happened, we need to know what our immediate response would be among individuals in this emergency plan," said Horner, noting that in such an occurrence, emergency responders, city officials and school administrators would all need to cooperate.

"If there is an emergency, we need to know exactly what buildings we're going to use as a command center and an emergency shelter," he said.

The police chief said he is trying to obtain memos of understanding with the school district to allow gymnasiums to be used as emergency shelters.

The city's new emergency management plan is tailored to fit scenarios likely in Basehor, though it is similar to plans developed by other area cities, Horner said.

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