Clarion County set to approve emergency plan

Creating order out of chaos is what David Dunn, Clarion County’s Homeland Security planner does. He writes plans that are used in the event of an emergency.

“The emergency operations plan is basically a guide to assist the county in responding to all kinds of emergencies,” Dunn said at Tuesday’s county commissioners meeting. “It gets us moving forward in the right direction so that you are not trying to scramble as the emergency gets going. It identifies things that need to be done.”

As situations change the plans have to be updated. Commissioners will approve the county’s emergency operations plan next week.

“We had to do some revision based on the Americans With Disabilities Act and the (federal government) added a new section called Community Lifelines,” said Dunn.

A lifeline “enables the continuous operation of critical government and business functions and is essential to human health and safety or economic security,” according to Homeland Security.

“That will help us identify areas and to adjust our priorities,” Dunn said. “For example if we have 17 fire companies and six of them are out of service or if we have so many roads with major damage or health care facilities. This breaks it down so we know where to get the priorities assigned and get the county back up in operation.”

Different resources may be called into play depending on the nature of the emergency.

“We have 40 county plans now that we are responsible to do,” said Dunn. Those plans cover hazardous materials situations, unconventional wells, dams, (one for the county and for five specific dams), and 17 chemical facilities.

In addition to those plans, Dunn is responsible for other plans ranging from health care facilities to daycare centers.

The plan will be placed on the county’s website after it has been approved.