For several years, the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program has been encouraging Madison County residents to know the zones where they work, live, worship or attend school.
Now, road signs will help them remember.
“We can all use a reminder now and then,” said Kelley McBride, public information officer for CSEPP and the Madison County Emergency Management Agency. “This can be especially true when it comes to emergency preparedness.”
Signs with zone information are popping up around Madison County designed to remind residents of the location and significance of the county’s emergency response zones.
Paid for with funding from EMA/CSEPP, more than 150 signs will be placed at strategic points throughout the county, McBride said.
The county’s geographical information system department mapped locations for the signs and installation is being done by the Madison County Road Department, the Richmond Public Works Department, and the Berea Street Department, she said.
Madison County is divided into 13 emergency response zones. In case of a large-scale emergency, Madison County EMA would instruct the public to take protective actions, depending on which zones were affected.
“Knowing zone locations would be vital information for the public to have to take appropriate action,” McBride said. “It’s important to know the zone locations of daycares, schools, hospitals and long-term care facilities, as well as places of business and home.”
Know what to do, not where to go
Most residents associate knowing their zone with a pre-planned relocation point listed in the annual Madison County EMA/CSEPP Emergency Preparedness Calendar, McBride said.
“While knowing relocation points is indeed important, in the event of a chemical-related emergency, residents would most likely be instructed to shelter-in-place,” she said. “This means taking shelter indoors (at home, work, school or shopping) to wait for the danger to pass – NOT taking to the road.”
Shelter-in-place is preferred to evacuation procedures because, if a chemical accident occurred, evacuation would be too slow and potentially too dangerous to public safety, McBride explained.
Once officials determined the threat from a chemical accident had passed, instruction to exit shelter-in-place would be given.
“It is possible that after exiting shelter-in-place, people in some zones might be instructed to relocate, but that would be an additional, separate protective action to take,” McBride said.
Depending where a chemical accident happened, the pre-planned relocation point listed in the Emergency Preparedness Calendar could no longer be viable. Residents would need to stay tuned to local radio stations for updated information.
Knowledge of emergency response zones is vital to successfully following instructions for public safety, she added.
“The zone signs are an additional visual reminder for residents as they travel throughout the county,” said Madison County EMA Director Carl Richards.
“Seeing the signs will help people associate an actual familiar place with the Emergency Response Zones set for their protection,” Richards said.