MIDDLETOWN – The fire and police chiefs are updating the town’s emergency preparedness plan.
Middletown Fire Chief Mark Dalton and Middletown Police Chief Gary Benedict briefed officials at a Monday night safety services committee meeting and work session on the plan. They have been working, on and off, for about 10 months to update the town’s FEMA-required emergency preparedness plan and after a little more work hope to have it completed soon and submitted for approval to the Town Council.
No one seems certain of when the plan was last updated, but it appears to have been several years ago.
An emergency plan covers a number of various incidents, from devastating tornadoes, fires, terrorist incidents and bombing to something as simple as a high traffic event.
As they update the town plan, Benedict and Dalton are coordinating their plan with the plans of Frederick County and Lord Fairfax Community College since an emergency often requires a regional approach.
“That way everyone is operating the same way, using the same terminology,” Dalton said. “Everyone runs an incident the same way.”
In the case of an emergency in Middletown, either the fire chief or police chief would be in command, depending on what the emergency was, and running the incident plan. But, they are to receive input from others and as such, town officials and department heads have to undergo training, known as NIMS – or the National Incident Management System.
The emergency plan calls for the town to plan for succession — who with the town would be involved. First would be the mayor and then the town manager. Council member Scott Fink asked if council members should undergo the training.
“If it was me, I would train everyone. That way we have our bases covered, depending on who is in town,” Dalton said. “I hope we never have to use it.”