Vermont updates local emergency operations plan template

The Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security recently released a new local emergency operations plan template, according to a DEMHS newsletter.

A Vermont statute requires that every town and city in the state have an emergency operations plan on file at the DEMHS. The template will give community emergency management directors the ability to create their own local emergency operation plans by the May 1 deadline. The directors must submit their revised plans to their regional planning commission by that time.

The adoption of local emergency operations plans is part of the state's new Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund Rule, which goes into effect on October 23. The fund provides state funding to match federal public assistance after federally declared disasters.

A local emergency operations plan gives individual communities a blueprint that guides the preparation for, response to and recovery from a disaster. The plans also help all municipalities to work together and assist each other during a widespread event, such as in the fallout from Tropical Storm Irene.

The DEMHS used a local emergency operations plan working group to develop the new template. The group included regional planning commission planners and emergency management directors from all public safety districts.

The DEMHS provides aid and support to local emergency management directors, local emergency planning committees, regional planning commissions, community emergency response teams, emergency response providers and state agencies. The division provides support during natural disasters, hazardous materials and transportation accidents, search and rescue operations and deliberate acts of terrorism or vandalism.