Be prepared

2008 archived Eagle Bulletin article

What would you do in a state of emergency that affects not only you, but your family, friends and the entire community? A Critical Response Committee formed in 2001 shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in order to combat those types of questions.

First and foremost, the committee's main purpose is to communicate.

"[The goal is] to do anything we can to help first responders, the government and other entities that may be affected by disaster," said Capt. Bill Bleyle of the Manlius Police Department. "To plan for them, to coordinate our plans, to coordinate their efforts, to communicate what we're doing, to share training, [and] look at how we can share resources so that in the eventual disaster we would hit the ground running."

In 2003, individuals and organizations consisting of local government officials, police, fire, the national weather service, school districts and so forth came together to discuss the potentials of what could occur. Using a procedure set up by the State Emergency Management Office, the group conducted a hazard analysis, ranking them from highest to lowest risk.

"Since then, we've used those rankings ensuring our emergency plans are tight in those areas," Bleyle said. "When we do our drills, oftentimes they focus around those things we're most likely to see in our community."

If a disaster were too large for a village or the town to handle, the mayor or supervisor in charge will request help from the county and on up if necessary.

So what should be expected from the residents?

"One of the most important things in a disaster - and it's extremely critical - is that people need to know what problems could occur in their community," Bleyle said. "It's going to be incumbent upon [every individual] and their neighbors and their families to be prepared, and to really provide for themselves."

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