Ware, MA (August 6, 2012) - When it comes to disaster planning, the question is not if a disaster will strike, but when. “Be it the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the historic October snowstorm that dumped more than a foot of snow and left area communities without power and closed many roads, or the threat of a pandemic flu outbreak the are many reasons for preparing for the unexpected,” said Bart Monopoli, Manager of Engineering at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital and Chair of the hospital Emergency Preparedness Committee.
Knowing that public emergency services are a vital part of our community emergency planning, Monopoli and a team of town officials meet monthly to ensure readiness in the case of a disaster which includes planning mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. The Local Emergency Planning Committee includes the fire and police departments, the town’s emergency preparedness coordinator, town manager, director of public works and the health department.
“Our hospital, the fire and police departments would be among the first to be affected after a disaster, natural or man-made. Because of the heavy demand placed on these services at the time of a disaster we all need to be prepared to handle such unusual workloads. Disaster preparedness involves more than just writing a disaster plan, it includes partnering with our town agencies to plan how to use and sustain resources. These plans need to be coordinated at the local community level based on the individual needs of our community,” said Monopoli.
“We actually practice disaster training drills with our staff, physicians and area agencies to develop, test and implements disaster plans,” said Monopoli. Disaster exercises also play an important role in the overall development and testing of an emergency plan. We always learn something from these drills and use this information to identify areas of strength as well as areas needing improvement.”
Recently the hospital purchased Incident Command System Organizational Port-a-Boards to share with the Ware Fire Department on recommendation by the Fire Chief Thomas Coulombe. These boards will help to keep tract of who is responsible for what incident command roles in the case of a disaster to address needs such as communications, staff responsibilities, triaging, surge capacity, supplies, and equipment. “Planning and partnering together we continue to play a constructive role in enabling the town of Ware and our area communities better prepare for and respond to emergencies and disasters,” said Monopoli.