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Hudson has emergency plan in place for big disasters

by Laura Freeman | Reporter Published: July 16, 2014 12:00 AM

Hudson -- Even though City Council will vote on approving the Summit County Hazard Mitigation Plan this month,  the city has its own plan.

In 2013, the Hudson Fire/EMS Deployment Board's Community Risk Assessment Report stated the top five risks to the city were severe storm (48 percent); tornado (42 percent); winter blizzard (40 percent); flood (37 percent); and transport railroad (35 percent).

Hudson readers expressed, concern in March an April regarding train derailments involving hazardous materials.

The city has plans in place to cover those hazards as well as a variety of others, including pandemics, terrorist attacks, bridge collapse and earthquake, according to Jody Roberts, communications manager.

"Our plans must be adaptable to meet any and all situations that would occur," Roberts said.

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In July 2003, flooding left 93 residents homeless and many motorists stranded in raging waters. Two residents died at 75 Atterbury Blvd. in the Versailles condominium complex.

The Red Cross set up the Hudson High School as a shelter, and residents were taken by school bus to the school to spend the night. It was the first time the high school was used as a shelter. Local businesses provided food. Income tax was increased in 2004 with some of the funds targeted to address long-term flooding concerns.

In an emergency, the city activates its City Emergency Operations Center, which manages the incident, Roberts said. All information flows through the center. Either the fire chief or police chief is in charge, depending on the type of incident.

City staff members are assigned duties such as setting up shelters, locating resources or working with public utilities and are continuing trained to handle different situations.

"We also work closely with Summit County, the state of Ohio, and the federal government during emergency incidents, calling in additional resources as required," Roberts said.

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During an "emergency" winter storm, the city focuses on how to get emergency vehicles through the city, helping individuals without power or heat, welfare checks on the elderly or those with medical issues and setting up "heating" stations to provide a warm place for residents. In addition, city workers provide aid to stranded motorists.

The city also has plans for mass casualty incidents which are extensive and include public notification, evacuations, shelters, hazardous material handling, mass casualty treatment and transport, road closures and detours and more.

Residents are encouraged to have personal home and office plans in place for emergencies, Roberts said. They can use www.ready.gov which provides information on how to prepare for emergencies.

The city notifies residents through public notification systems, city web-based systems, Reverse 911 systems, social media, local TV and radio media and Hudson Cable Television and even door-to-door notification to assist with large scale evacuations.

Residents are recommended to register cell phone numbers in Hudson's Code Red Emergency Alert System and sign up for email and text messages through the city's Notify Me section of its website at www.hudson.oh.us. The Reverse 911 system dials all phone numbers in its database, which can take half an hour to an hour.

Register cell phone numbers with Summit County Emergency Alert System for county wide emergencies using the link on the city website.

Residents can find news and updates on the city website, city social media sites, local radio and TV stations.

The city has one emergency siren in the Town Hall building which is activated during an emergency but cannot be heard throughout the city. Also listen/watch for door-to-door announcements or a loud speaker notification from city vehicles.

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

Facebook: Laura Freeman, Record Publishing

Twitter: @LauraFreeman_RP

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