James City County (JCC) Prepared for Emergency Response
Recent events around the country have proven that our homeland is not immune to devastating consequences that can affect everyone in the community. While in these uncertain times, JCC is not exempt from such disasters, we have determined our risk factor is less than those of our neighbors in the immediate vicinity of Washington, D.C., and other major urban centers or even the military facilities in Hampton Roads.
Even so, JCC has taken several proactive steps to prepare for a disaster.
JCC has comprehensive emergency disaster response plans. The emergency plan considers emergency response, notification and evacuation of citizens, and shelter and care of victims unable to inhabit their homes. JCC staff have received extensive training, drilled regularly on our emergency response plans, made improvements to our emergency operating center, and enhanced our communication with citizens before and during an emergency. JCC staff members evaluate those plans regularly to take into account changes in our communities such as new neighborhoods, transportation networks, or threats to our safety and security. These plans have been field-tested and revised following our experiences with ice storms, flooding, and Hurricane Isabel. JCC also coordinates emergency plans with neighboring communities, and regional, State and Federal agencies.
JCC has greatly increased community training opportunities to educate citizens on their role and responsibilities during an emergency. These training events are available periodically in many locations around JCC. In addition, if your group or neighborhood desires assistance to meet a particular need or concern, we are available to help in any way possible.
Tal Luton, JCC Fire Chief
The Williamsburg Community Hospital (WCH) is prepared for all types of emergencies through education and drills that include State and local fire, rescue and police departments. Additionally, hospital policies and procedures have been reviewed and updated in order to improve staff and physicians' ability to handle any disaster that occurs. WCH is operating with heightened security measures in place.
Per the Virginia Health Department's request, the hospital staff is reviewing the listed "chief complaint" of all Emergency Care Center and Convenient Care admissions on a daily basis with appropriate information forwarded to the Regional Epidemiologist for early detection of any unusual disease patterns.
- The JCC Police Department is a major resource in all disaster response activities. The Police Department has provided hazard awareness and communication training to each of its officers and has begun implementation of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) program where individual police cars can respond to certain medical emergencies along with the Fire Department to render immediate care for the victim of a full cardiac arrest.
- The Fire Department has participated in regional disaster response training drills both on the Peninsula and in Tidewater. Several members of the Department are equipped and trained to respond to difficult technical rescue operations such as collapsed buildings or unusual and critical tactical incidents. In addition, the Department has several members trained in water rescue operations, advanced EMS care, and command and control functions. The Fire Department has equipped each piece of fire apparatus to be able to provide firefighting and emergency medical service, as well as first response level for a hazardous materials incident.
- The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) of the Fire Department has increased the level and awareness for response to medical emergencies in the community. EMS is an integral part of the regional emergency medical response plan for a wide scale emergency that could result in large numbers of sick or injured persons. EMS provides training programs to local businesses and industries to permit them to take care of their own while we respond to the community at large.
- The Office of Emergency Management coordinates all critical messages to JCC staff and the community at large and has recently improved its ability to deliver emergency notifications to area facilities and/or neighborhoods. In addition the Office of Emergency Management routinely tests our response plans with County departments and outside agencies without prior announcement to identify the most efficient ways of improving the response to any disaster that may strike.
- The James City Service Authority (JCSA) facilities are monitored electronically 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All water stations are secured by fence and/or locked inside a structure. Staff has been encouraged to stay alert for any suspicious activity.
- The JCSA sewage pump stations are monitored and have backup emergency power to sustain operations should electricity be lost.
- Water samples are taken daily to verify the effectiveness of the water treatment process, to detect certain forms of bacterial contamination and to verify the presence of an active disinfecting agent in the water supply.
- The JCSA participates in the Hampton Roads Water Quality Response Plan that ensures that the various agencies will respond to a drinking water health threat in a unified, synchronized effort.