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Sturbridge plans for the worst


Emergency committee to rehearse for disaster



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Sturbridge CERT members learn how to maintain emergency equipment during a class last summer. (click for larger version)
August 22, 2010
STURBRIDGE — In the event of a major emergency, residents should plan to be on their own for at least 72 hours.

The likelihood of an event so catastrophic that it would tie up all emergency personnel for that long is slim, but it is a possibility.

Later this week, the Sturbridge Emergency Planning Committee will be brushing up on their protocol aimed at easing the burdens of the town and its citizens while securing resources and keeping safety and order during an emergency.

On Thursday, Aug. 26, the planning committee will convene for an annual exercise, during which professionals from a variety of different disciplines will have to work together to safely ride out a simulated disaster or emergency.

Sgt. Kevin Mercier of the Sturbridge Police Department said there are 13 specific interests represented on the planning committee, including the town administrator; an emergency management coordinator, which is Police Chief Thomas Ford or his designee; emergency medical services; hospital services; police; firefighters; the Board of Health; a representative of the media; Department of Public Works; a transportation specialist; representatives of the business community; Barbara Search of the Council on Aging representing special community groups; and Conservation Agent Erin Jacque to address environmental concerns.

Mercier said tabletop exercises like this one are required each year in order for the organization to maintain its accreditation from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency as a legitimate local emergency planning unit.

For more on this story, please see Monday's Southbridge Evening News.

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