Archive for Thursday, March 16, 2006

City to test emergency preparedness

March 16, 2006

Be prepared.

A crippling ice storm is heading toward Basehor. Or a devastating tornado. Or perhaps another beast of a natural disaster.

For Basehor police chief Terry Horner -- and other local emergency preparedness officials -- those are just a few of the scenarios they could face when they take part in a mock drill next Tuesday, March 21. The drill, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at City Hall, is designed to test the effectiveness of the city's revised emergency management plan.

Horner said officials from Leavenworth County Emergency Management will participate in the meeting and are drawing up the potential disaster situation for Basehor.

"We'll have a mock scenario of an emergency situation occurring in the city," Horner said. "The situation has not been disclosed. It could be a storm, a tornado or something else weather related. ... We're not sure what it's going to be."

Representatives from public sectors such as city, county, state, fire department and the school district will participate.

Horner said the meeting would entail the county's emergency management office presenting a nightmare scenario with local officials discussing how best to respond to it.

Since last year, Horner and city officials have been working to revise the city's long-outdated emergency management plan. Revising the plan was a request of the Basehor City Council, which was prompted by the faulty response to Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast.

The revisions are complete, Horner said, but could be updated following the March 21 drill.

"The emergency plan that I've written is done," Horner said. "I've made some tweaks and went back and modified some areas of concern. ... It'll probably go before the city in March or April."

The plan is similar to one being used by the city of Lansing, Horner said. It outlines procedures for the city and first responders to use during emergency situations. It is also cements an agreement between the city and school district, which will allow residents dislocated from their homes due to a natural disaster to be sheltered at one of three local schools.

Luckily, disaster didn't strike the city before the emergency management plan was finished.

Horner said "numerous homes" were damaged by golf-ball sized hail last weekend.

"At some houses, it looks like someone took a shotgun and started shooting holes in them, there's so many of them," he said.

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