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Ready for Anything: Emergency Preparation in Lewiston, Nez Perce County

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Being proactive instead of reactive. When it comes to emergencies, officials across the area have plans in place and a way to alert you wherever you are.

One man has been fire following a terrifying 38 minute ordeal in Hawaii, when a false alarm left people scrambling to find shelter and saying goodbye to loved ones.

While that January 13th missile alert turned out to be a false alarm from the apparently confused employee, City of Lewiston Public Information Officer Carol Maurer says emergencies do happen. Here in Nez Perce County, they're ready.

Maurer says, "We do trainings every year throughout the year with our emergency management director. The city works with the county."

Maurer says when a disaster hits, most of the work is done behind the scenes. Lewiston and Nez Perce County does have a command center of sorts, but you may not have ever noticed it.

Maurer says, "We have an EOC, an emergency operations center, in which volunteers from the city and the county get together and they develop a plan of action depending on what that emergency is."

Disasters are rare in our area, but the county does have a detailed plan on what types of emergencies are most likely and how to handle them, including how they'd alert the public.

Maurer says, "Some people may have phones in their homes, landlines. Some people only have cellphones. Automated calls, not just Facebook but all social media platforms, through the radio, putting up digital signs."

The county also has agreements with outside communities in case of emegencies, so Lewiston could become a place for shelter or resources. While there is a standard protocol for these events, Maurer says through their trainings, she's learned that teamwork is most important.

"Kind of a universal language, so for example, the way we would get out information, once an incident happens how we would respond to that and how we would react, we all know how to communicate effectively," she explains.

Nez Perce County has a new emergency manager, Grant DiCianni, who will now take charge of all operations in the event of an emergency.

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