County emergency responders to meet about winter weather

Published 2:55 pm Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Snowstorms may not be at the top of the list of disasters residents think about hitting Chilton County.

But a meeting of local emergency personnel could help keep residents safe in such an event, and the lessons learned could be applied to other disaster situations.

Chilton County Emergency Management Agency Director Bill Collum is organizing the meeting, at the prompting of Alabama Department of Transportation District Manager Ken Couch, for 1-3:30 p.m. on Jan. 12 at the Clanton City Hall Council Room.

“I called a couple of other counties about it so that I wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel, but no one that I talked to had done it yet,” Collum said.

The meeting will include presentations by ALDOT, the National Weather Service, Alabama Power and American Red Cross, and possibly others.

The ALDOT presentation would probably focus on procedures for road closures, for example, while an Alabama Power representative might talk about safety around downed power lines and a Red Cross spokesperson could touch on shelters—who sets them up and how it is decided where they will be located.

Collum said that if nothing else, the meeting will provide an opportunity for leaders of the county’s emergency agencies to get to know each other.

“We’ve got a bunch of folks who are new in it, and it will be good for them to get together,” he said. “It’s important to know people before something like that happens. It’s one thing to have an emergency and then try to figure out who’s in charge. You can never have too much information.”

Collum said he expects from 25-75 firefighters, law enforcement officers, rescue personnel, road department employees—“People that are going to have a job to do when something like that happens,” he said—to attend the meeting.

The group could plan for other meetings in the future.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to do this for other times, too—expand on the training for different kinds of disasters that could happen,” Collum said.