Monday, September 19, 2005

A Many Headed Beast

In City Council, this evening, on the City Managers agenda, was a report on emergency preparedness efforts in the event of an influenza pandemic, received from Chief Public Health Officer, Harold Cox. This report states, among other things, that at the local level, Lynn Schoeff is the Director of Emergency Preparedness.

Earlier today, I received in the mail a response to my request to the Mayor, for the City's Emergency Management Plan, including evacuation and shelters.

"Thursday, September 15th, 2005, Dear Ms Podgers, Enclosed is a copy of the Evacuation report you have requested. If you have any specific questions or concerns, please contact the Director of the Emergency Management Department, David O'Connor, at 617 349 4842. Sincerely, Michael Sullivan, Mayor"

The next page is on letter head paper, City Of Cambridge, 147 Hampshire St, Emergency Management Department, David B. O'Connor, director.

"To Nicole Bukowski
from David O'Connor

If your constituent has questions please encourage her to call me"

This document is not dated.

The next page starts....


but it does not state what it is 3.12 of!!!

The 6 paragraphs raise more questions than answers, for example one sentence states "It is estimated that 20% of the population will require transportation." Gee, in another report the City claims that more than 40% of the population uses walking or biking for transportation. What is the 20% figure based on?

Another paragraph refers to "special needs" populations, as being in "facilities," and the facilities should have their own plans and resources; but no where does it address the needs or seniors and/or individuals with disabilities who are not "in facilities" and there is no plan mentioned for them. This is discrimination, and a fair housing violation.

This section of what document I don't know also states that there is an "Operation Exodus" plan. But Operation Exodus was not included in the mailing to me.

The next page is 3.13 Responsibilities For Evacuation Operations; A. Mitigation, A. Preparedness, B. Response, and C. Recovery. And, no, that is not a typo, there are two A's.

Of note is #5, under A. Preparedness, "Provide public education regarding evacuation procedures." I will get back to this.

Another page, included, Figure 3.0, Traffic Control Points (TCPS) & Evacuation Routes Map

There is nothing on this page, except the word "deleted" in magic marker.

The last page included is...3.14 Health Facility Evacuation Activities. This page should be a concern to all.

Now, back to preparedness, and providing public information regarding evacuation procedures...I have been trying to get information about this very thing, and made the round of calls, and finally prevailed upon the Mayor to see if he could get a-hold of this information. After I received this curious "report" by the Emergency management Department, director David o'Conner, I asked the following question of the following people and received the following responses...

Q...Is the Emergency Management And Evacuation Plan that provides for the City Of Cambridge, on the City of Cambridge website?

Vice Mayor Decker's office replied, "I don't know."

Mayor Sullivan's office replied to ask the City Manager.

The City Manager's office replied, "I don't know."

Back to Mayor Sullivan, "I'll let the Mayor know you want him to call you."

I have reported this In City Council this evening, and requested the City Council to please have the Emergency Management Plans published on the City's website.

Let's hope we can see these plans, and make sure they fill the bill, before we find out the hard way that they fall short.


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