The Washington Times-Herald

Columns

December 5, 2013

Knowledge is more important than perception

Knowledge is more important than perception

Editor:

I read the letter in the Nov. 27 editorial section of our local newspaper from a local resident concerning the emergency response by local agencies, volunteers, and first responders. I am disturbed by the apparent lack of knowledge with regard to what is involved during times of community disasters and or other significant emergency situations.

I appreciate the first two paragraphs commending those who were quite visible to the inquisitive public; state police, ambulance service, volunteers, and others, including the excellent utility service. I am also disturbed at the apparent lack of regard by the author of the letter for the general public’s safety. He states, “I should not have been on the street as I contributed to the problem of traffic.” I wonder what his letter would say if he were trapped under his residence, the structure was on fire, or he was otherwise inconvenienced by our recent event and help couldn’t get to him because of the “traffic” he was part of.

I must respond to his comments regarding the Daviess County Sheriff’s Department. As a member of one of the responding emergency groups, I would commend the sheriff and his very capable deputies, jailers, dispatchers and administrative staff for a job above and beyond what was required of most of them. They were some of the first to notify media and weather service of the approaching tornado. (Two deputies put themselves in harms way by proceeding west to the county line to monitor the approaching storm.) Other deputies responded on their time off to help those deputies searching the damaged areas for survivors, and just as importantly, locate downed “live” electrical wires after the initial catastrophe, probably preventing additional hazard’s, and dispatchers, along with off duty dispatchers that manned a makeshift dispatch center outdoors with portable tables and using a “spare” patrol car because the generator failed. Oh, by the way, the generator that failed was due to power surges caused by the same event that precipitated its demise. (The generator is tested under load every week and those that have that responsibility take their job very seriously.) I am quite sure that those incarcerated within the security center also have to be dealt with. I guess an option would have the author of the 11/27/13 letter to the editor volunteer a spare room or two for some of them for a few days if needed. MacAllister and Cat responded very quickly to also help alleviate the generator issue, for which they too should be commended.

In conclusion, I believe the entire emergency efforts before, during, after, and the continuing relief efforts, are some of the best in the region. This is not an accident. Everyone trains, plans and practices for such events, and “ALL” of the responders deserve acknowledgment and accolades from the entire community.

Anthony (Tony) Wichman

Chief, Washington Twp. Volunteer Fire/Rescue

Chairman, District 10 Planning and Oversite Committee (Division of Indiana Homeland Security)

Daviess County Commissioner, President

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