Mastering Disaster takes a Committed Community

It is the end of 2009, the year that Cordova began taking disaster preparedness seriously. It is also the year during which disaster articles appeared weekly in this publication…and you may be just slightly relieved to hear that this is the last that will arrive with such frequency. Or probably more likely, you are greatly relieved. The articles appeared so often, and carried with them such a sense of doom, that Toni Bocci nicknamed me the Master of Disaster.

And I laughed heartily at that, because it was so true. I was the Master of Disaster because someone had to do it. But to set the record straight, various someones have been quietly working on disaster preparedness for years. The work really began when former Fire Chief Dewey Whetsell and Mr. Dick Groff, one of Cordova’s best loved firefighters, collected a canny and willing group of individuals. These volunteers adopted the formidable task of gathering regularly to begin crafting the framework for the Cordova Emergency Operations Plan and training themselves to assist and/or assume roles of leadership in the event of a disaster. The Disaster Management Team, as they are called, is comprised of Chairman Dave Crowley, Jerry Bendzak , Bob Berceli, Dick Groff, Patience Faulkner, Jason Fode, Sandy Nehl, Dave O’Brien, Dixie Lambert, Dan Logan, Susanna Marquette, Dave O’Brien, Joy Rawlins, Bob Rodrigues, and newcomer Mike Collins. If you happen across one of them on the street in the coming year… you might wish to thank them for their dedicated work in the past years. Work no one knew about.

The current plan contains ideas generated by the original Disaster Management Team combined with the thoughts of approximately 40 other individuals who have participated in regular meetings these past six months. The Emergency Operations Plan now consists of the basic plan, assorted annexes (special chapters to address functions such as communications or specific hazards such as a hazardous material incident), and a reference section. It is not a short read, but will be available to the public soon…just in case you haven’t already read enough about preparedness.

Thanks to the foresight of the Cordova City Council and individuals like Dick Groff and the Disaster Management team, preparedness has become a reality in our community. Or at least we have begun. What they worked on for so long has now come to fruition. The plan is almost done.

We don’t want to preach doom incessantly, but we do want to….Be prudent . Be ready. Be prepared. Master of Disaster. Out.