Previously, the City of Prineville had relied upon the Crook County Emergency Operations Plan

If disaster strikes in Prineville, City of Prineville leaders can now rely on a detailed and comprehensive plan that helps them handle the situation.

Last week, the Prineville City Council approved a resolution to adopt a city-specific emergency operations plan. Police Captain Michael Boyd said the document helps them with general preparedness and puts everybody involved in emergency response on the same page, using the same terminology.

“It’s a great thing,” he said. “I am really excited about it. It is a really well done plan.”

This marks the first time that the city has a plan suited to their specific needs. Up to this point, had an emergency occurred, the city would have relied on the Crook County plan. Boyd noted that while the county document provides a solid plan, it does not include roles and strategies for city staff and officials.

“Having your own plan gives you specific documents and ways that your own city council can declare emergencies or the city manager can do certain things,” he explained.

The document lists what disasters are most likely to affect the city, some of which include a wildland fire, a major flood, or a severe winter storm. It outlines specific roles for city officials and staff members, addressing such concerns as planning, logistics, finance, and continuity of government.

“The basic tools in this plan allows us to deal with everything from a big water pipe breaking at Third and Main streets to, heaven forbid, a plane crashing into Pioneer Memorial Hospital or an earthquake in Portland where 300,000 people come to our area for shelter,” Boyd said.

In addition to outlining specific roles and actions, the emergency operations plan provides the city a way to enlist resources from higher levels of government if needed.

“How all disaster response works is it starts at the local level,” Boyd explained, “which is the police officer driving out to a report of, say, a fire. If he can solve it, that disaster is over. But when it gets to the point that we can’t handle it, then we go up to the county and they help us handle it. If their resources aren’t enough, then we go through Crook County to access the state.”

Prineville Mayor Betty Roppe said she and her fellow councilors will now read through the lengthy document thoroughly to learn their roles as well as what the city will do in specific emergencies. The council also intends to hold some educational classes on the document.

“We are pleased to have it in place,” Roppe said.

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