Emergency Management Plan being developed
By Joe Morey
On Tuesday, Jan. 22, at its weekly meeting, LCO Emergency Management Coordinator Matt Riedell, presented an update to the Tribal Governing Board (TGB) on the tribe’s emergency management plan he is currently developing.
Riedell presented several Notification Systems for the TGB to consider implementing at Lac Courte Oreilles, but he recommended using Nixel. He said that with Nixel the tribe could have unlimited dial out and texts through the system, which could be divided up into just a message out to teachers or parents from the school or a blast to everyone.
“We can do the blast, or we can hear from Sawyer County dispatch,” Riedell said. He added the system can be integrated with social media too.
Nixel would cost $3,500 per year with an initial $500 cost for installation and training. “These are approximations verbally expressed with quick number crunching by vendor and not part of a written quote,” Riedell said.
“We can send out alerts through Facebook, social media, texting, email, etc,” Riedell said. “Additionally by phone call to land or cellular lines, through Google, and the Integrated Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS).”
Riedell also explained to the council, part of the emergency management plan, is too set up policy development and procedures that need to be completed. That includes each tribal building on the reservation having their own point person, a safety officer, and then make it known to all staff.
Riedell said in his update to the tribal council that he will be working with the LCO Police Department and reaching out to Human Resources to provide necessary training and safety plans for each facility that does not have a plan already in place.
“I will provide a template and assist but do not have the availability to do every facility’s plan, as I do not know the logistics of each facility as well as the staff who work there daily,” Riedell explained.
“I recommend you have one safety officer and two alternates,” Riedell said. “Sometimes when something happens, you’ll find that having one alternate person, they may both be gone.”
Riedell noted a safety policy will include plans for a lockdown, or shelter-in-place, and what kind of notifications should be given, and what communications should be made between different buildings in each situation.
“It could be something as simple as we have a snow day, how do we let them know,” Riedell said. He explained a situation could arise such as active shooter at the school but there is no plan in place to notify the tribal office or other buildings.
One council member said it could be a situation such as a wife at the school will call her husband at the college and that might be the only way they find out. “And then the college is on lockdown and people start to panic because they don’t know what’s going on,” that council member said.
Riedell said the school has their own good plan in place, but how well does anyone else know that plan, he questioned. He added he would be increasing public outreach for preparedness information throughout the coming year, including utilization of the revised tribal website.
Riedell also said that if the tribe suffered a disaster, in order to receive FEMA disaster funding, they have to have an emergency management plan in place.
He added in his update that he will be putting together a tabletop exercise (TTX) for facilities along Trepania Road to simulate an active shooter threat and test internal and external communication.
The TGB voted unanimously to direct Riedell to develop a safety policy.
Matt Riedell, LCO Emergency Management Coordinator