|
|
Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • One year later: Storm provided disaster response insights

  • In the weeks and months that followed the damaging storm of May 20, 2013, various agencies have conducted a review of their response plans if, God forbid, a comparable or worse disaster were to befall Hannibal.
    • email print
  • In the weeks and months that followed the damaging storm of May 20, 2013, various agencies have conducted a review of their response plans if, God forbid, a comparable or worse disaster were to befall Hannibal.
    “You change every time there is a storm or flood, you pick up something that will make things work better the next time,” said John Hark, Hannibal’s emergency management director. “We can’t stop the storm, we just do the best we can to prepare for it.”
    At the Police Department, a review of policies took place in the wake of the storm. Factored in were the various difficulties that arose that night.
    “The matter was reviewed with our command staff and patrol and detective supervisors on what proved to be effective and what wasn't,” said Police Chief Lyndell Davis.
    Davis saluted the additional manpower that helped maintain order following the storm.
    “One aspect was greatly appreciated and that was the number of off-duty officers that responded to assist. We had lost for the most part radio communication and cell phone capability, so for the off-duty (officers) to respond as they did was commendable,” he said. “We also received considerable response from the rural law enforcement agencies, which was greatly appreciated.”
    At the Board of Public Works, Bob Stevenson, BPW general manager, says the emergency plans that were in place proved effective following the storm. That doesn’t mean the BPW isn’t looking ahead to the next major weather event.
    “We do practice drills from time to time with other city departments,” he said. “The use of Facebook was a new and experimental element for us that we will do again. We are installing diesel generators to some critical facilities. And we are also planning to build some redundant circuits to others. We are installing software that will help us be more timely and responsive to massive numbers of phone calls next time.”
    In the Parks & Recreation Department, Director Andy Dorian says he can’t think of a lot he’d change in terms of post-storm recovery.
    “We hated to have to shut the (Riverview) Park down because we know how much people love it, but it was too dangerous,” he said. “I really don’t know what else we could have done differently. I think for the amount of damage we sustained we got the parks back looking good and operational about as quick as we could hope for.”
    The long hours of work following the storm paid some dividends, according to Dorian.
    “I think we grew a lot as a unit, working that close together,” he said. “We learned a lot on the fly about the removal of trees, which has been really helpful throughout the year. We have a better idea now what we can and can’t do.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Hark hopes the public may have learned some lessons in regard to disaster preparation.
    “Because the community was hit so hard and there was no power service in some areas for days, having some type of (electrical) generator would be a very wise thing,” he said. “The importance of getting an emergency kit ready came to light at that time.”
     
     
      • calendar