MOUNT VERNON — A two-phase planning process to address disaster recovery was brought to the Knox County elected officials when they met Thursday morning at the Knox County Service Center.
“This is a long-term process, but we need to concentrate on a plan of knowing what to do if this building becomes uninhabitable,” said Emily Marth, safety and loss coordinator. “If there is a disaster and nothing is left, then what? Where do we go? What do we do to be able to continue with our jobs?”
These were questions posed by Marth, who conducted the meeting along with Knox County Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director Matt Sturgeon. One event which helped lead to the decision to implement such a plan was a roof fire which started from a problem in a heating unit.
“The fire was really minimized, but we did evacuate the building as a safety precaution,” said Marth. All doors and windows were opened to allow smoke to escape the building, posing another concern of unwanted intruders entering the building.
“This will be a little bit of work,” said Sturgeon, in explaining the two phases of the project as being “identify and plan.” For the first phase, Sturgeon passed out a questionnaire for each office to identify essential functions. Specific questions asked include what service does the function provide; what agencies/organizations do we depend on to complete this function; who are the key personnel need to perform this function; can this function be transferred to another department; and what office equipment is needed to complete this function; among others.
“This may all be time consuming, but it’s all necessary if we want to get this done,” said Marth. “We can’t plan for all these things, but we have an obligation to be able to continue in our office.”
Once all questionnaires are gathered, the information will be evaluated, and the planning process will begin. “I’m hoping you all want to do this. We’ll be happy to assist you,” said Marth.