By Tony Buthman

Washington County Emergency Management held an LEPC (Local Emergency Planning Committee) meeting at the Weiser Vendome. This is the first of many more to come. There were 32 people in attendance, representing many county and city departments along with Fire organizations, Law Enforcement, Road Departments, County Leaders, City Leaders from all 3 cities in the county, the Weiser School District along with representatives of the Forest Service.
The meeting started off with Tony Buthman Washington County Emergency Manager speaking about updating the Washington County Multi Hazard Mitigation Plan to address ways to better prepare for emergencies when they arise. This will include a series of meetings and exercises to identify and develop ways to lessen or make easier to deal with emergencies when they take place.
The next item was updating the County EOP (Emergency Operations Plan). This is a manual that is in place that gives guidelines on appropriate actions in the event of an emergency. It is a well thought-out manual that is developed locally. Copies of this are distributed to all agencies for quick reference in the event an emergency.
At this point Dale Nalder, who is the Area Field Officer for IOEM (Idaho Office of Emergency Management) took the floor and discussed some items from last year’s Winter Storm Event. He explained some of the processes from the local level, state level and up to the federal level. The federal level has a very high bar, meaning local and state resources have been used to a level that disruptions may occur in normal functions. Continuing on he discussed tools that are available to better track and communicate events as they are unfolding. These communications include everything from area entities keeping each other informed, clear up to state level so preplanning can take place incase an event happens to escalate. The afternoon session comprised of a training exercise involving who needs to be notified for specific events, along with ways to track these communications for further reference.