So long, Sandy! Hello, Next Emergency!
Clayton Preps for Indicents Before They Hit
The town of Clayton may have dodged the bullet with Hurricane Sandy, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be in the bulls-eye for the next storm. That’s why on Monday, October 29th, 2012, roughly 20 of Clayton’s top staff gathered for a day-long training in how to manage emergencies, whether it’s a hurricane, hostage situation, ice storm or flooding.
A trained instructor from Johnston County Emergency Management met with Clayton leaders representing every department, including police, fire, customer service, water, sewer, and electric. Together they spent time reviewing and discussing the latest updates to something called NIMS, the National Incident Management System. It’s a comprehensive, national approach for responding to emergencies that grew out of the September 11th attacks. It’s required by all federal agencies and is taught to cities, towns, businesses and non-profit groups around the country. It ensures that when an incident occurs all of the different groups and agencies that respond are talking the same language and following the same protocols.
“It just makes Clayton better prepared when that emergency comes or that storm hits, “ said a NIMS instructor Paul Whitehurst, the Assistant Fire Marshal with Johnston County Emergency Services, who stressed that getting all the various town departments together in one place was essential. “This way, all town leaders will understand how the system works and how to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively when the time comes that they have to manage a disaster or incident. “
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is constantly updating the NIMS training and improving on the resources and the town of Clayton is staying on top of advances.
“We are constantly training and preparing for emergencies, but this was a great opportunity to review our procedures and get a refresher course on new trends,” said Clayton Fire Chief Lee Barbee.
One of the most important elements of NIMS response is designating someone to help disseminate information to the public and the media. The NIMS instructor complimented Clayton on its recent hiring of a Public Information Officer (PIO) who will be ideal and critical in helping the town respond and manage emergencies.
And one of the best tools for that PIO to get information out to the public quickly is the town’s Code Red system. The system, managed though Johnston County, allows all residents and businesses to receive a phone call, text or email alert when important or potentially urgent public safety or service related events happen. This service is absolutely FREE! Please make sure you are signed up, there is no excuse not to! All information is kept confidential and you won’t be pestered with nuisance calls…alerts are only made regarding legitimate public safety or public service matters. Sign up NOW! It literally takes one minute.