NEZ PERCE COUNTY
Local Government Response to a Catastrophic Disaster
Public input sought on draft contingency plan addressing local government response to catastrophic events.
Catastrophic Response Website
September, 2012 — During National Preparedness Month, we underscore the important responsibility Americans have to be ready for emergencies in our homes, businesses, and communities. We are more vulnerable than ever before. The intensity of disasters in the last two decades has increased. At the same time, we have become increasing dependent on a complex, interconnected system to provide essentials needs – from finances to food to fuel to electricity to healthcare. More urgently than ever we need to think about the unthinkable: a catastrophic event that affects massive portions of the country. Extensive disruptions means that local governments will need to address basic needs with the resources on hand.
What are we preparing for?
A catastrophic disaster has the potential to cause massive disruption of essential services throughout the nation. The production and delivery of food, water, fuel, and daily supplies could be interrupted for weeks or months at a time, resulting in shortages. Utilities such as water, gas, phone, and electricity may fail. Schools, churches, stores, and businesses may close. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities may be overwhelmed and unable to serve all those in need. Throughout the crisis, local law enforcement will need to maintain civil order.
Framing our Response
Assisting the citizens of this region safely through a catastrophic event will require a well thought-out plan and timely decisions. In 2010, the Nez Perce County Board of Commissioners created a Continuity Planning Team to write a comprehensive local plan to carry out the objectives and directives of national contingency plans: to maintain civil order and ensure essential services continue operations. The result is a Continuity of Government/Continuity of Operations Plan for Catastrophic Events. This plan is an operational handbook to stabilize local communities.
Public Input Sought
Recovering from a catastrophic event requires a culture of preparedness from the individual level to the government. A culture of preparedness strengthens individuals and communities in the event of any disaster. The decisions in this plan will impact every member of the community, and therefore their input is vital.
We encourage individual preparation and seek comment on this contingency plan. The draft plan is available online at the Catastrophic Response Website and at the County Commissioner’s Building and City Halls.