City of Estacada works on updating emergency plan
In the aftermath of incidents like the Riverside Fire and the Clackamas County ice storms, Estacada leaders are working to update the city's emergency plan.
The city, in partnership with Clackamas County Disaster Management, first developed an emergency operations plan in 2014. City leaders have been working with Ready Northwest Emergency Management on the update, and Estacada City Councilors received an update on the plan during a meeting on Monday, Nov. 8. The discussion focused on the proposed plan's line of succession, roles and responsibilities and levels of disaster designations.
The proposed emergency coordination line of succession is the city manager, assistant city manager, community development manager and the city recorder. Previously, this list included the police chief and fire chief, but Edward Colson of Ready Northwest noted that they may be needed at the site of the emergency.
"That's why we made the addition that we would have the city manager, assistant city manager, the community development director … then followed by the city recorder, all city staff who would be trained to understand what it would be like or what it would take to be the incident commander," he said.
The proposed emergency policy and governance line of succession is the mayor, city council president, member of city council who last served as president and the city manager. Councilors requested that all members of the council be added to the line of succession, in order of length of service.
Multiple councilors expressed concern with the level of communication during last fall's Riverside Fire.
"That was one concern that all of us had, after the wildfire, was the lack of communication to the council itself. We answer to the people and if there's no communication to us, we can't communicate out to the community," said Councilor Jerry Tenbush.
Councilor Joel Litkie noted that nonprofit organizations played a significant role in the response to the Riverside Fire and requested that they receive communication as well.
"We need to make sure when we talk about communication, that we're also involving those key organizations that have the resources to deploy quicker than a government agency does, so that they're involved in the loop, too," he said.
Councilor Katy Dunsmuir said it might be valuable to have a timeline as to when specific people should be alerted of an incident.
"Within 24 hours of an incident coming to light these certain people needed to be alerted, and within certain days of an incident continuing that these certain people need to be involved, and just make sure that there's an accountability there that somebody is required to communicate with certain stakeholders at certain points in an incident," she said. "I think that would be really important moving forward."
The proposed roles and responsibilities for the mayor and City Council during emergencies include establishing emergency management authority by city ordinance; adopting an EOP and other emergency managementâ€“related resolutions; declaring a State of Emergency and providing support to the on-scene Incident Commander in requesting assistance through the county; acting as liaison to the community during activation of the EOC; acting on emergency funding needs; and attending Public Information Officer briefings.
In terms of levels of declaration, a level one incident "is a minor and localized incident that is quickly resolved within existing city resources or limited outside help." Examples of Level 1 incidents include small chemical spills, small fires, limited duration power
failures and normal fire and police response requests.
A level two incident "is a major event or threat that requires response by more than one department/response agency due to special or unusual characteristics, or is beyond the scope of available local resources." Examples of level two incidents include large or multiple structure fires, structural collapses, significant hazardous materials releases, extended power or utility outages, severe flooding, multi-fatality incidents and any external emergencies that may affect city response agencies or operations.
A level three incident "is a major disaster or imminent threat involving the coordinated response of local, regional, state and federal resources to save lives and protect the property of a large portion of the population. Examples of level three incidents include "major explosions, major hazardous materials releases, major earthquakes and terrorism incidents."
During the Nov. 8 meeting, councilors requested that wildfires be added to the list of potential incidents.
"I appreciate all the feedback that was given on here, and we'll be still in communication as this is still the draft. We just wanted to do a progress check to let everybody know where we are on this and we'll continue to request feedback," Colson said.
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