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Council adopts standards for emergency response

October 05, 2005|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

tiffanya@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG - The Smithsburg Town Council on Tuesday approved a resolution to adopt new federal standards for national incident management.

The council unanimously approved the resolution, known as the National Incident Management System Ordinance (NIMS), at its monthly meeting.

NIMS was developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to streamline federal, state and local responses to incidents such as Hurricane Katrina, Smithsburg Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers said.

The ordinance requires all elected officials to attend a two-hour training session and take a test, town attorney Chuck Wagaman said. Those who don't comply would be ineligible for federal funds in the event of such an emergency, Wagaman said.

"That way nobody could say, 'Well, I didn't know (what to do),'" Wagaman said.

The governor issued an executive order adopting NIMS as the state's standard for incident management. The county also has adopted the federal standards.

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Myers said the town already developed an emergency plan, which she said would be presented to the public after the council reviewed it.

There were concerns over how well the public was informed about the town's emergency plans in the event that Smithsburg had to be evacuated.

Charles Slick, a former councilman, asked how the town would accommodate older citizens who lacked the means to evacuate.

"I think Smithsburg is small enough that if we had a Katrina coming, we could get buses and go street by street and pick people up," Myers said.

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