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City to set up disaster plan

November 21, 2012

    The names are all too familiar: Katrina, Joplin, Sandy, Henryville in Indiana, among them.
    In the wake of these horrific disasters in recent years, many communities have begun to look ahead, to attempt to make plans for dealing with disasters, either natural or man-made.
    The plan which will be put together for the City of Decatur of Decatur was unveiled at Tuesday night's city council meeting by Eran Hackman of the Adams County Emergency Management Agency (EMA).
    Hackman has already talked with some city department heads and in January will begin implementation of a COOP/COG plan, which stands for Continuity of Operation, Continuity of Government. Basically, it is a plan which would allow the city to provide at least some services in the event of a major disaster.
    "In the event departments have their offices wiped out," Hackman cited as just one example.
    She has been working with county departments on setting up such a plan "and it has been going well," the EMA official noted. In the future, she plans to contact Berne, Monroe and Geneva government officials to establish plans there.
    The plan for Decatur won't be developed overnight — "We are looking at probably two years," Mayor John Schultz said  — but it will definitely be a start. "It's important that we have a plan," he added.
    The state has been pushing EMAs to work out such plans.
    The aim of COOP is spelled out in a document Hackman presented on screen Tuesday night: "Assuring the continuance of minimum essential functions across a wide range of potential emergencies."
    With no plan, a community faces a five to eight percent probably recovery. But that number will go higher given the depth of plans in place — even 55 percent to 75 percent with completion of exercise, backup plans validated, and corrective actions taken, according to the EMA information.

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