City considers new boards to handle emergency response

  • Written by Bill Lewis

The city of Woodinville is considering creating two new panels to oversee the city’s response to natural disasters and other emergencies, and abolish the city commission that currently handles those efforts.

The proposal to abolish the existing commission and create the new boards – the Woodinville Emergency Resources Committee and  the  Woodinville Citizen Corps Council – comes from members of the panel that would be disbanded, the city’s Emergency Preparedness and Public Safety Commission.

Assistant to the City Manager Kellye Mazzoli told city council members at their July 18 meeting that the new structure would more efficiently use professionals and volunteers responsible for emergency response, and bring together governmental groups outside the city that would play a role in emergency efforts.

Under the proposal outlined by Mazzoli, which must be approved by the council, the Woodinville Emergency Resources Committee would consist of seven members, including an elected city official;  a city police department representative; a member of the city public works department; a Woodinville Fire and Rescue representative; a Woodinville Water District representative; and a representative from the Northshore School District.

The committee would be responsible for establishing “regular coordinated communication   among  community partners for better preparation and overall readiness” in emergency response efforts, she said.

The Citizen Corps Council would   be   made   up  of  residents  who would be expected to participate in emergency response activities, including first responders, amateur radio operators and a volunteer coordinator. The panel could have an unlimited number of participants and its  work would be coordinated by city staff members, Mazzoli said.

In addition to the creation of the new boards, the Emergency Preparedness and Public Safety Commission recommended that the city hire a full-time volunteer coordinator to recruit and direct emergency volunteers. Mazzoli told council members that city staff is preparing a recommendation on whether that position is full-time, part-time or part of a current staffer’s duties.

The commission made the recommendations as part of its work earlier this year updating the city’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.

The plan is designed to govern the city’s response to a variety of natural disasters, including floods and earthquakes, as well as man-made events such as hazardous waste spills and terror attacks.

The more than 200-page plan, written under the direction of an engineering firm that acted as a consultant to the city, designates the Woodinville Fire & Rescue Emergency Operations Center as the hub of city emergency response efforts. It directs police, city public works officers and other emergency personnel to work in partnership with the fire department. The Fire and Rescue District serves areas of King County outside of Woodinville and is not under the direct control of the city council.

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