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LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS®
OF DELAWARE COUNTY

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Lessons Learned - Best Practices for Emergency Response Providers

Ready or Not

Delaware County Emergency Services

Delaware County Local Emergency Planning Committee

Delaware County Amateur Radio Emergency Services

PA State Police

PA Dept.of Homeland Security

US Dept.of Homeland Security

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

American Red Cross




Are we prepared? Not really!

About two years ago the League began to interview Delaware County and Local Government Officials about our state of preparedness.

Across the country, the League had been working on a Civil Liberties and Homeland Security Project believing made made or natural all disasters require the same attention: prevention, response and recovery. All interviews showed some strengths but many weaknesses.

Delaware County has practiced and prepared well for chemical spills, but still needs to improve procedures for alerting the population.

In late 2006, Delaware County announced their Strategic National Stockpile Implementation Plan to deal with the distribution of medicine in the case of a medical emergency. This was a good step forward but we still have communication problems that have not been adequately addressed. This became clear when there was possible contamination of the Aqua PA water supply in four communities in late July 2007.

On July 30th, there was a water main break at the Aqua PA Crum Creek Treatment Plant that affected the residents of Swarthmore, Rutledge, Morton and part of Springfield. Some people received automated calls from Aqua PA , the media was notified and there were signs in some stores and shops. The reality was that notification was spotty and many never learned that their water needed to be boiled for one minute until 2 PM on August 1. The Department of Environmental Protection was notified but even passing the site of the water main break there was no indication of why there was water in the road or sign alerting passing drivers.

On the left, you will find some of the sites that have disaster information and what you need to do as a family to be prepared. These sites could be important if there is an emergency.

In the meantime we must continue to ask our town and county officials to work harder to prepare and share with the public how everyone can be better prepared. As we learned on 9-11 and in the Aqua PA water main break, each town must have an emergency plan and a way to communicate with its residents. In the end it is local and neighbors working together.

Meet with your community leaders and use the League questionnaire to have an in-depth discussion of what is being done to prepare for emergencies in your community. Our lives and safety depend on it.

 

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