The disturbing events throughout our nation at the end of last week certainly has drawn attention to disaster preparedness and the ability of communities to cope with surreal situations.
It is almost impossible for emergency managers to predict the severity of a situation and make every precaution to prepare for it. A weather event like a tornado is so unpredictable and the direction and velocity can change in mere seconds.
Emergency preparedness is complicated and sometimes futile, but in the end a community that is ready for a disaster is better off than one that is not. King William County took a major step to improve our readiness with a workshop on December 10 coordinated by Fire & EMS Chief, Stacy Reaves.
In partnership with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), County staff, Tribal leadership from the Upper Mattaponi, and Supervisors Ed Moren and Stewart Garber participated in a planning exercise led by Brad Owens and Tom Wells of the Olson Group. The consulting firm was contracted by VDEM to lead the four-hour discussion at the Fire & EMS station located off Route 360 at no expense to King William County.
The exercise included hypothetical events using real locations within King William County, starting at the outset of a storm with the potential of a tornado to it eventually touching down. In between there were numerous hypothetical circumstances that challenged public safety employees which included setting up the Emergency Operations Center involving numerous departments and staff members.
Even though the career side of King William County’s Fire & EMS department is only about two years-old, it was encouraging to see just how much has been put into place to respond to an actual live event. Sheriff Jeff Walton and his staff are certainly on top of the many issues surrounding a crisis and key areas such as the Public School Division, Social Services, Utilities, and County Administration were shown ways to improve their responses.
Residents live in communities for many reasons. But one common thread among all ages is safety and feeling confident Emergency Management officials will respond when any disaster hits. Last week’s workshop covered a wide range of situations and reminded everyone how much we have in place and what future planning is still necessary.
Congrats to all involved for recognizing the importance of protecting our community.
Parks & Rec Community Center Open to All Ages
One of King William’s best kept secrets is the Community Center located at 7890 Richmond-Tappahannock Highway that is operated by the Parks & Recreation.
Director Kayla Huffman is urging residents of all ages to utilize the facility. There are areas to play games, watch TV, and just enjoy good company from 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
There is also free WIFI, printing of documents, coffee, magazines, and newspapers. It is a great location to bring a group and enjoy a safe environment at no cost.
The Parks & Recreation Activity Hotline is (804) 769-3011, ext. 4281.
Congressman Wittman to Sponsor Bill
Congressman Rob Wittman has responded to requests from King William County and the Town of West Point to sponsor HR 5735 – State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act.
The idea was first raised by West Point Town Manager John Edwards and follow-up was made to Congressman Wittman who agreed to be the bill’s patron.
The legislation will give King William and others more flexibility in handling matters involving the federal government.