Sunday, January 15, 2012

Village Passes Emergency Action Plan

The Village of Middleburgh passed a revised Emergency Action Plan January 9th. It is below:

Village of Middleburgh Emergency Action Plan

In light of the terrible damage left in the wake of Hurricane Irene in August-September 2011,

Recognizing the need for an updated and improved plan,

We propose the following to ensure the future safety of our community.

I. Definitions
1. An isolated event is one that affects a large portion of the village, and in which there is little or no chance of escalation and that can be handled by Village or Town officials. Examples of this would be a pathogen leak into Village water, a major water main break, major sewer leakage, or several concurrent street blockages or outages.

2. A major incident is one in which there is the majority of the Village is in major risk of damage or in the immediate aftermath thereof. Examples would be severe flooding, a substantial chemical leak, a major series of fires, affecting more than ten buildings, a local tornado, a sustained (more than 24 hours) regional power outage, or a significant earthquake (Richter 6.0 or greater).

3. A catastrophic emergency is one in which the physical safety of the majority of Village residents is at risk, greatly impairing residential, commercial, and municipal function. Examples would include a deadly pandemic, a Gilboa Dam break, a nuclear disaster, or similar event.

4. A Village official in these situations will be defined as the Mayor, a member of the Board of Trustees, the Village Clerk, the Deputy Clerk, the Code Enforcement Officer, the Village Attorney, the Superintendent of Public Works. In case of a joint disaster declaration by the Town and Village, any equivalent member of the Town government may replace or supplement Village officials.

5. A joint disaster declaration would be when a majority of both the Village and Town Boards, or the Village Mayor and Town Supervisor in cases when communication is not possible or practical, may set up one central location for a municipal response center.

6. The municipal response center will be the Village Hall at 309 Main Street unless an emergency prevents its operation as such a location. If the Village Hall is not available, then the Town Hall shall be its auxiliary location. In case of this being unavailable, the Town Barn shall be the tertiary location. If this location is not available, an emergency trailer can be placed near the Town Barn. This response center will be the center for municipal communications, including with (but not expressly on behalf of) the Department of Public Works and the Fire Department. In case of a joint disaster declaration, the response center may be moved to one of these three locations. It shall also serve as the communications liason with other municipalities, Schoharie County and its agencies, New York State and agencies, the federal government and agencies, charitable or relief organizations, businesses, and private individuals. The response center shall also serve as the distribution center for official information. This information shall be disseminated via clearly governmental channels, including but not limited to flier on Village letterhead, the Sheriff's Department, the Fire Department, or the Department of Public Works. The response center shall also take the lead in disseminating traffic information and road closure. Telephone numbers of Village officials, as well as any other agencies, shall be posted or made immediately available for concerned citizens.

Unless expressly agreed upon after the fact, the municipal response center shall also serve as the center of volunteer efforts. The center shall have lists for those that need volunteer services or those that can give volunteer services. Contact information for these individuals shall be written down, as well as any particular skill or needs that may occur. These lists shall be posted (as much as practically possible) in front of the municipal response center.

II. General Provisions

1. In the case of any of these events, the municipality is not to interfere with the functions of vital services, including the Middleburgh Fire Department, the Village or Town of Middleburgh Department of Public Works, or emergency personnel from out of the community. However, the municipal response center may serve as a conduit between such departments if necessary or as requested.

2. The Village hall shall always have on hand provisions for any emergency response. This shall include sets of protective gloves and masks, as well at least one spare set of cleaning supplies. The Village shall also have at least some non-perishable food and water present in order to feed at least five individuals for three days. The Village must have at least one functional first aid kit. Several emergency blankets should be present. At least two flashlights and batteries (or a kinetic flashlight) must also be present. None of these supplies shall be kept in the basement and preferably on the top floor.

3. In case of either a major incident or an catastrophic emergency, a majority of the Village Board must approve all expenditures above $5,000. An individual trustee, the Superintendent of Public Works, or Code Enforcement Officer may approve a $2,000 expenditure without Board approval. In case of emergency, the officials mentioned above shall be authorized to make purchase up to said $5,000 if there is no practical way to contact a majority of the Board. There shall be no laws made in times of emergency unless conducted in a manner consistent with standard operating procedure. Resolutions still require a majority of the Board. In this case, a majority of a quorum of a minimum three Board members may make a decision (i.e., two of three).

4. In case of an isolated event, all Village officials must be notified within 24 hours. All should be on standby in case of any further developments. At least one official must remain within the vicinity of the municipal response center in order to field calls and communications. The Village office shall remain open beyond normal business hours, preferably until at least 6pm.
Should there be any confusion about the event or in the case that the general public is not aware and the consensus of the Board is that there should be notification, there shall be an effort made to do so. This may be done through one or a combination of of options, including: placing fliers on Village letterhead on doors, announcing over loudspeakers, reverse 911, or through Village employees or volunteers. Contact information for the response center should be included with any effort.

5. In case of a major incident, all Village officials must be notified within 12 hours. All should be on standby in case of any further developments. At least one Village official must remain within the response center in order to field calls and communications. The Village office shall remain open for at least 12 hours each day until the major incident is deemed clear.
Communication efforts shall remain the same as above.
Volunteer efforts shall begin as soon as practically possible. Warnings about conditions at particular locations shall be posted for volunteers. One individual shall be approinted the volunteer coordinator. If possible, another shall be declared communications coordinator.
A major incident must be declared over by either the Mayor personally or the majority of the Board. It is their responsibility to make efforts to communicate this with the people of the Village.
6. In case of a catastrophic emergency, all Village officials shall assist in evacuation efforts. Due to the extreme risk to personal safety, there shall be no mandatory posting at a municipal response center. However, after a catastrophic emergency has concluded, then the status of the Village shall be downgraded to a major incident. Until that occurs, muncipal government would be unfeasable and cannot be enforced. When the situation becomes a major incident, procedures outlined above shall be used.

7. In case of such an emergency situation, the Village shall keep open a bank account number that would be available for any relief funds. Any appropriations from this fund shall be made by a majority of the Board.

8. In case all Village officials are incapacitated or out of contact, the Town Board may serve as proxies on their behalf in case of a major incident.

III. Additional Notes

1. Copies of this plan shall be available to the public. At least ten copies shall be stored in the Village Hall at all times. A notice of this plan going into effect shall be placed in official press outlets within thirty days of its passing.

2. Any additions or revisions shall be made with a majority vote of the Board.

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