Emergency Management helping to make sure local workers are safe.

March 31, 2020

Emergency Management helping to make sure local workers are safe.

A lot goes on behind the scenes of a local emergency on the scale of the current COVID-19 crisis. So far, as of Tuesday morning, March 31, 2020, Mason County is one of the few counties in the State of Michigan that has not had any confirmed cases. Even with confirmed cases, the hope of emergency planners is to keep containment low and also to safely treat any patients who contract the virus and to protect health care workers, first responders, and other patients, as well as workers who still interact with the public.

In a time of emergency Mason County Emergency Management, led by coordinator Liz Reimink, typically plans and coordinates responses.

One of the roles of local emergency management is assuring that local businesses are stocked with the proper personal protective equipment. On Friday, with the help of volunteers, emergency management acquired 20 cases of industrial grade gloves from the Strategic National Stockpile and other sources. The gloves were distributed to critical infrastructure businesses like grocery stores, gas stations, banks, and public works.

“These gloves will help protect their workers as they conduct the extra cleaning to continue their vital services during this pandemic,” Reimink said.

Reimink said the local response to the COVID-19 crisis is a coordinated effort between emergency management, District Health Department #10, Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital, local governments and local first responders.

“We were all working to prepare for this and monitor this situation for months, and the plans and such that we are following have been developed over the years,” Reimink said. Typically disaster planning is typically implemented from the local level and then up to the regional, state, and federal levels. Due to its global scale, this situation is being coordinated on a state and federal level, Reimink said.

“We are all working diligently to not duplicate efforts as this would increase confusion and decrease our efficiency. Locally we are working with the United Way 211 to collect information from people who are willing to volunteer and pairing them up with the agencies that need those talents. We have plans in place to solicit our own volunteers if the statewide effort isn’t sufficient or we have localized needs.”

“We just ask the public to follow the guidelines and recommendations set forth, and if they don’t understand them to seek out official sources of information. There has been too much fear and misinformation associated with this emergency, and it will have long lasting implications.”

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