Community Relations Coordinator, John Peterson, the Public Information Officer for the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) returned to discuss the office and current emergency conditions. He described DMA, part of the Department of Homeland Security system they coordinate emergency preparedness, training, response and recover efforts in the event of a disaster, natural or man-made. After a flood, chemical spill or other event they not only help to save lives, but also the infrastructure, our roads and power and more to keep us on the job and safe in our homes. He stressed three things: make a plan, build a kit and stay informed. An impending disaster is NOT the time to search for survival tactics, he wants us to have a plan now for evacuation or sheltering in place, including what to take, where to go and how to contact family and friends afterwards. He wants us to have water and food on hand for three days, a generator or cell phone chargers. He also recommended a NOAH weather radio and a regular radio to stay informed about emergency instructions and updates. His goal is to keep us from needed their help; he notes that a person can be swept of their feet by just six inches of water and a vehicle at only 12 and low-lying Delaware’s greatest threat in a hurricane or storm is flooding. We also discussed their recent training programs, coordinating schools with emergency responders to create an overlay of the entire system to allow responders and school officials to exactly pinpoint emergencies and the danger, using common language and coordinates. This ‘mapping’ allows quicker and more appropriate responses and allows for a coordinated effort across schools and agencies. Through their Coordinated School Safety Plans they also offer training in active assailants, mental health crisis and severe weather. They also completed a ‘reunification plan’ for after a rescue to get families back together quickly.
If you would like more information about emergency preparation and recovery, how to build an emergency kit or volunteer as part of their community response team, go to PREPAREDE.org or DEMA.Delaware.gov