They can be caused by human error, severe weather, infections or diseases, or terrorism acts. Emergencies are unpredictable, but the impacts are very real.
An attitude of "it can't happen here" simply isn't acceptable in a world with growing populations, changing temperatures and weather patterns.
An emergency plan, like the plan the Town of Lewisporte had recently approved, is a very important step in preparedness for an emergency should it arise.
Besides the major benefit of outlined procedures during an emergency, developing the plan has had advantages.
Throughout the process the Town has been able to identify any unrecognized conditions that would aggravate an emergency situation and eliminate them. The planning has also brought to light several deficiencies, lack of resources (equipment, trained staff and supplies) that can be remedied before an emergency occurs.
When an emergency happens it can threaten not only public health and safety, but also the environment, critical infrastructure and even the economy.
Being prepared is critical in the wake of an emergency. An urgent need for spilt-second decisions and shortage of time can lead to chaos, if a procedure isn't laid out during an emergency.
The Town of Lewisporte emergency plan includes all possible emergencies, consequences, required actions, written procedures and the resources available, detailed lists of personnel including their contact information, duties and responsibilities, and large scale maps showing evacuation routes.
A lot of work has gone into the layout and preparation of the plan for all involved, but a lot of care attention needs to be given to something that most will have to stake their lives on if an emergency occurs.
Hopefully the Town of Lewisporte will never have to use their emergency plan, but if they do, it's good to know there are steps in place for a smooth operation and delivery of aid to those who will need it and peace of mind for us all.
- Pam Snow