China emergency preparedness group meets monthly

by Mary Grow

China Emergency Preparation Committee members are holding monthly meetings, with assignments in between, as they update China’s Emergency Action Plan. The most recent meeting was March 11; the next meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday, April 15.

The draft Emergency Checklist Plan, including some of the updates, is on the town website,, under the Emergency Preparedness Committee tab.

The version committee members are reviewing has statistics from the 2010 census. They discussed waiting until 2020 census data are available to complete the final draft, so they will not need to update figures within a year.

Discussion at the March 11 meeting began with plans for an emergency in a town building. That section is nearly final.

It includes designation of people in charge at the town office complex, the transfer station and the public works building; a list of alternates in case the designee is on vacation, on the road or otherwise unavailable; each person’s duties; designated gathering places if one or more buildings need to be evacuated; and other aspects of a plan to avoid chaos.

Turning to the plan intended to be town-wide, committee members briefly summarized information on available resources each had collected since the previous meeting. They talked about two communications issues: how to send out a town-wide emergency notice so that all residents get it promptly, and how to share notifications and information among neighboring towns so they can help each other in emergencies.

Town Manager Becky Hapgood said her predecessor, Dennis Heath, tried to set up a hyperlink notification system, but not enough residents signed up. Some towns have sirens, whistles, horns or other old-fashioned systems, committee member Stephen Nichols said.

Another option, Nichols said, would be to have fire department members drive fire trucks around town delivering loudspeaker notices.

China’s three volunteer fire departments have mutual aid agreements with departments in neighboring towns, so that a major fire in one town brings firefighters from miles around. Committee members do not know whether town governments could make similar arrangements.

While considering communications, committee members agreed the directory of FAX machines could be deleted from the plan, because few FAX machines remain in use.


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