Delaware News

Plan could help prepare Sunbury for emergencies

New disaster siren also among village's recent efforts to expand its current warning system

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Sunbury Village Council adopted the Delaware County Emergency Management Agency's new countywide multihazard mitigation plan at its meeting Wednesday, April 30.

Sean Miller, director of the agency, said it isn't an operation plan in case of disasters, but a good reference document that outlines the probabilities of certain disasters and what can be done as precautions.

"It looks at some of these hazards and profiles them, and then it looks at what can be done to eliminate or reduce those risks invoked by those hazards," Miller said. "Some options are tornado safe rooms, flood mitigation projects and sirens."

The agency compiled data, statistics and history and analyzed the hazards' potential impact physically and economically, Miller said, then outlined various suggestions to reduce municipalities' vulnerability to disasters

The plan breaks down its information by emergency, including weather-related events such as tornadoes, thunderstorms and floods, along with manmade emergencies such as chemical spills or dam failures.

By adopting the plan, the village and its residents could be approved for federal or state mitigation grants to help with repairs if a disaster should occur, or to help fund precautionary measures.

Miller said Delaware County is more likely to experience severe summer and winter weather than flood damages or emergencies involving hazardous chemicals.

However, he said he believes everyone should be prepared for any possibility.

"Though probability is low, we do have to plan for them," Miller said. "Consequences could be high."

The village recently purchased and activated a new storm siren to alert residents about severe weather or funnel clouds.

Though touchdowns are rare in Delaware County -- just three since 2010 -- funnel clouds and strong straight-line winds often occur.

To enhance the village's warning system and expand its alert range, the new siren at the BST&G Fire Department is connected to Delaware County's radio system. If a weather-related alert is necessary, the village and the county can activate it.

The siren is installed and running and will be tested at noon the first Saturday of each month.

The new storm siren, however, may not be loud enough to wake sleepers during late-night storms, officials said.

That's why the county and village officials are encouraging residents to sign up for CodeRED, an emergency notification system that sends alerts directly to cellphones loudly enough to wake someone who is sleeping.

Village Council meets next at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 7, at Town Hall, 9 E. Granville St.

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