Bay Village establishes crisis communication task force
In an effort to improve communications between Bay Village residents and its safety forces during crises or emergencies, a special volunteer task force has been appointed by Mayor Debbie Sutherland to research and recommend changes.
Stubborn communications issues experienced in the wake of “super storm” Sandy last October prompted the mayor to commission the all-volunteer panel to begin meeting and consider potential recommendations to city council designed to improve communications. The task force has been meeting since December, and is welcoming public input on their draft plan.
It became evident that while the city services and safety forces were able to stay in communications with one another, getting information out to residents became more of a daunting task, with landline phones and the internet being down for up to 6 days.
A particular focus for the task force is on how to ensure that those residents who might not have access to cell phones or who may have mobility issues can stay connected to get the information and resources they need to stay safe during storms, power outages and so on.
The task force’s next meeting will be Monday, March 25, 6-7:30 p.m. at Bay Village City Hall. Our meetings are always open to the public. The task force is expected to give its recommendations to the mayor sometime this spring. Then, after her review, would submit the draft recommendations to city council for their consideration.
In the meantime, here are some actions that residents can take to make better use of existing communications tools:
- Sign up for the Nixle program, a system that sends out emergency announcements and information to subscribers via text and email. The program is free, and operated well during Hurricane Sandy. But less than 20 percent of Bay residents are subscribed. To enroll, it takes less than a minute, and you do not need to provide your name, your age or even your street address. Please visit: cityofbayvillage.com/safety-services.aspx
- Contact the Bay Village Fire Department to enroll in the free Resident Lockbox Program, in which the city maintains a key to enrollees’ homes in the event that they need to gain quick emergency entry. The Bay Village Fire Department can be reached by calling: 440-871-2200.
- Sign up for the Mayor’s email newsletter, which is free and goes out when needed to all subscribers. To sign up, go to: cityofbayvillage.com/email-signup.aspx
- Enroll in the Bay Village Police Department’s free Homebound Check-in program, in which the department uses automated calls to check in on enrollees. If the phone is not answered, the police check on that resident. For more information, contact Bay Village Community Services Director Deborah Bock at 440-988-3409.
- Help out older relatives and neighbors by gently checking on them, proactively asking them if they are willing to enroll in any of these programs, and what kind of help they might need during an emergency.
For more information, on the task force, please contact co-chairs Jennifer Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org, David Adams at email@example.com or Mayor Sutherland at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 440-899-3415.
Bay Village resident and volunteer on Bay Village Crisis Communication Task Force