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Weather emergency exercise planned

Published March 12. 2010 05:00PM

Carbon County will again participate in a statewide weather emergency exercise at the 911 Communications Center in Nesquehoning on Thursday, March 18.

This exercise is part of Weather Emergency Preparedness Week, which was adopted by the Carbon County Commissioners during their Thursday meeting. Weather Emergency Preparedness Week is March 15 through 19.

Mark Nalesnik, director of the Carbon County Emergency Management Agency, said the weather emergency exercise from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The exercise will deal with severe weather related emergencies such as tornadoes, floods or snow storms.

During the exercise, the Communications Center will issue severe weather warnings, which will be placed on a message board at the facility. A group of organizations participating in the event will then be assigned to each incident. They will be responsible for overseeing its mitigation, write up an incident report and update information until the emergency is resolved.

A copy of each incident report will then be submitted to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA).

The exercise allows county and municipal governments, as well as schools, hospitals, nursing homes, day care centers and other special facilities to test their disaster preparedness and response programs.

Currently, the Communications Center has up to 20 volunteers on the staff. They will assist in the exercise by contacting schools and day care centers and tell them that a weather emergency is happening and to use the drills they have created to make sure the students are safe.

Nalesnik also stresses that during Weather Emergency Preparedness Week, residents should make a "72-hour kit," which includes emergency survival supplies such as water, non-perishable food, flashlights and batteries and more, for individuals and families.

The kits should be used to help citizens take care of themselves during prolonged emergencies like power outages, severe weather events, flooding, and more.

"You need to have the ability to take care of yourself, your family, and your home," he said, adding that the county CERT program is an excellent resource for learning what to do in an emergency.

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