It’s important to have a detailed plan for when an emergency strikes — no matter what it is — and the community has exactly that, according to McCracken County Emergency Management Director Rob Estes.
During Tuesday’s roughly 20-minute meeting, Estes delivered a brief presentation to the Paducah City Commission about the Paducah-McCracken County emergency operations plan. It’s a lengthy, comprehensive document that covers various emergency and response situations.
“My office is tasked with the prevention, protection, response, recovery and mitigation for all disasters in the city of Paducah and McCracken County,” Estes told city officials.
“One of our responsibilities is preparing and maintaining a copy of the emergency operations plan. The purpose of this plan is to provide the structure and the processes that we’ll utilize — not only respond to, but to initially recover from disasters that happen in our community.”
The emergency operations plan, also referred to as an “EOP,” assigns responsibilities to individuals and organizations to carry out “specific actions at projected times and places,” Estes said. It gets updated and tweaked every year, and Estes noted that people’s names and jobs change.
“It’s a preparedness policy from doctrines, from lessons learned, from major incidents that we’ve had. I know the ice storm — major incident that we had here — there were a lot of lessons that we learned from that,” Estes added.
He also said there’s a local emergency planning committee that meets and discusses different circumstances that may happen.
“Our EOP considers areas of transportation, and when I say transportation, I mean the assets that we need to support emergency response on roadways, waterways and airports,” Estes said.
“On our communications, we look at different places for our different ways to alert our community — the local and state communications, ham radio operators, mobile audio speakers and door-to-door communications to alert the public.”
As another example, Estes said the EOP addresses areas with public works and engineering for the repair of roadways, bridges, electrical grids, clean water and debris management.
It also covers many other things, such as emergency management, firefighting (he noted they have to have a way to coordinate multiple agencies during a disaster), resource support, search and rescue (by air, land and water), agricultural and natural resources, energy and infrastructure, law enforcement and public information, Estes said.
In an interview with The Sun, Estes described the EOP as being “imperative” to have.
“Like I said, it’s not only how we respond to it, but it’s how we recover from it,” he told The Sun. “And to make that process as painless and efficient as possible — EOP is a necessity.”
After Estes’ presentation, Mayor Pro Tem Sandra Wilson and Commissioner David Guess both expressed their appreciation to Estes.
“We do appreciate your service very much and appreciate the preparedness that you have and sharing that with us tonight, so we can feel safer as a city, so thank you very much,” Wilson said. “We appreciate it.”
The meeting can be viewed online through the city’s YouTube channel, @paducahkygov. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Oct. 26.
In other business:
• As Mayor George Bray was not present, Wilson read a proclamation that declared October 2021 as National Arts and Humanities Month in Paducah. Wilson presented the proclamation to Cindy Ragland, of the city’s Creative & Cultural Council, and Mary Hammond, who is the executive director of the Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau.
• The commission approved a $55,315 increase to a professional services contract with HDR Inc. for Paducah’s floodwall pump station No. 2 project.
• The commission approved a new lease agreement with Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and New Jersey for its downtown Water Street location.
Follow Kelly Farrell on Twitter, @KellyAFarrell11