PUNXSUTAWNEY â The Punxsutawney Emergency Management Agency committee continues to make headway in its effort to reorganize the often-ignored borough department.
Agency Coordinator Charlie Hoeh recently told Punxsutawney Borough Council about the progress that the committee has made in the last few months.
âWeâve been meeting once a month as suggested by borough council, and weâre in the process of obtaining all of the emergency plans for all of the high rises and nursing homes in town,â he said.
âWe should have a copy of every emergency plan, from every high rise and nursing home in the borough,â Hoeh said. âWeâre going to keep all of the files dealing with emergency management in Borough Manager Ben Whiteâs office in a filing cabinet so all of the members of the EMA committee will be aware as to where itâs kept.
âThis information can be secured better if it is kept in that office instead of having it floating all over town,â he said, although as of this week, he has not received any of the plans that he requested.
âNow, Iâm going to go back out again to once again visit all of the operators who said they would send it into the borough office because they were hesitant to give it to me,â Hoeh said. âI told them if theyâre hesitant to give it to me, to send it to the borough managerâs office and earmark it to Ben White.â
Hoeh said the committee met Thursday morning in council chambers.
âEmergency management is now beginning to come out of the stone age and into modern times in Punxsy,â he said. âThe committee is working really hard. Itâs wonderful to work with people who understand what emergency management is all about, and those who donât are learning.â
Council member Roger Steele said the borough wants to coordinate these plans âso 300 people wonât show up to be evacuated into a building that can hold only 40 people. Weâve had that in the past when weâve had an abundance of people that needed to get inside out of the weather, and the building wasnât large enough.â
Hoeh said a lot of the buildings that deal with senior citizens have a professional write plans for them.
âWhat they do is they come in and write a professional type of agreement, but the people who operate the facility fail to do the check and see if the plan is feasible,â he said. âMaybe their plan states that theyâll have Krise Bus Company come and haul all of their people out. Have they ever contacted the bus company to find out if they have the capability to haul all of their people? These are some of things weâre trying to work on with the people in the community.â
Police Chief Tom Fedigan said the committee has been meeting for several months, and that has turned out to be a lot more difficult than it thought it would be.
âWeâre having difficulty obtaining the information that we need,â Fedigan said. âIf I could stress to whoever is not cooperating, please help us out. Weâre all in this together.â
Also this week, Council also approved an ordinance and two resolutions:
â˘ Ordinance 1109, to create a handicap parking space in the 100 block on the east side of South Gilpin Street.
â˘ A resolution to approve the Jefferson County Tax Collection Committeeâs $10,050 operating budget for this year.
â˘ Appointing Emily States-Pearce as the primary voting delegate for Punxsy borough, and Susan Mitchell as the first alternate voting delegate.