|By Natasha Clark|
Reminder Assistant Editor
LONGMEADOW In the wake of recent natural disasters and man-made tragedies, the town of Longmeadow has been working on an emergency management plan.
On Oct. 12 a meeting was hosted in the Community House to tell residents about the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) and what they could do to prepare themselves at home.
Referencing Hurricane Katrina, Town Manager Robin Crosbie told a modest turnout that the "Federal Government pretty much told cities you are on your own at least for the first 72 hours."
Fire Chief Eric Madison who also heads Emergency Management, said the whole community is starting to take emergency planning more seriously. He said that most successful rescue cases are "neighbor helping neighbor."
"What you do as an individual, as a neighbor, as a community, has a huge impact," Madison said.
CEMP outlines a chain of command in the event of an emergency. It assigns roles, health emergency planning, improved emergency communication, and things the public can do.
The town has been certified with sheltering capabilities by the American Red Cross. Longmeadow High School would double as an emergency shelter. They are currently working on supplying the school with emergency power.
The district has also been working on communicating with its residents during an emergency via the telephone. Last spring Madison said they tested the phone system with a mock call.
He also told residents it was important to prepare an escape route and disaster supply kit at home. Madison said it is very important for residents to know how to shut off the utilities (gas, water, electricity) in their home. A disaster supply kit should have enough food and water for three days. It should also contain gas, flashlights, extra batteries, a first aid kit, extra clothing and blankets, and kitchen utensils.
Madison also noted that when preparing emergency exit routes families should also plan for family members with special needs and their pets.
Longmeadow's entire Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan will be available on www.longmeadow.org by the end of the week.