January 6, 2009
Oswego County Committee Seeks Volunteers to Help with People During Disasters
Fulton - The Oswego County Local Human Needs Committee, an arm of the Oswego County Emergency Management Office, is looking for volunteers to help people during emergencies and disasters.
Formed in 1999 by a resolution of the Oswego County Legislature, the Local Human Needs Committee has created a plan to address “people needs” during disasters.
“This group of people has created a network of human services to assist county residents during a disaster,” said Patricia Egan, Director of the Oswego County Emergency Management Office. “They are dedicated to making sure people can receive help in the event a widespread emergency or disaster affects our county.”
“Our next committee meeting will be Monday, Jan. 12, at 9 a.m. at the Oswego County Emergency Management Office,” Egan said. “Anyone interested is welcome to attend.” The office is located at 200 N. Second Street (Route 481) in Fulton, across from Mimi's Restaurant.
Portions of the Local Human Needs Committee's plan were activated during the 2003 Ice Storm that knocked out power to portions of the county for up to a week.
“Fortunately, there were no real issues for people during the lake effect snow emergencies in 2004 and 2007,” Egan said. “But the potential exists for a prolonged power outage or other emergency to create hardship for people, making it impossible for them to stay in their homes or difficult for them to get prescription medication or transportation to a shelter. The Local Human Needs Plan addresses those issues, putting processes in place to coordinate services.”
The committee is comprised of more than 50 volunteers, representing 21 human service agencies and county departments. Six subcommittees carry out the mission of the Local Human Needs Committee: Food and Shelter, Health, Transportation and Communications, Volunteers, Animals in Disaster, and Disaster Mental Health.
“We're looking for volunteers to serve on the subcommittees and continue the work we're doing to be ready for a disaster,” Egan said. “We're also looking for people who would be trained and available to respond during a disaster. Our plan outlines several positions that would be staffed during emergency operations to coordinate services for people in need.”
Volunteers would be trained in the Incident Management System as well as in the Local Human Needs Plan. Exercises are held periodically to test the plan and give volunteers a chance to practice their skills.
For more information, call the Emergency Management Office at 591-9150 or by . Information on the Local Human Needs Committee is also available on the Emergency Management page of the Oswego County Web site, www.oswegocounty.com/emo.
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