Bonneville and Madison counties talk emergency plans
Bonneville and Madison counties are talking about emergency plans after a massive blackout in Eastern Idaho on Wednesday.
Madison County is steps ahead of Bonneville County. The county has a 300-page plan that outlines every step to take in the event of an emergency, including blackouts.
Bonneville County does not have as detailed a plan, unless the blackout lasts for 12 to 24 hours. The county does not have permanent emergency shelters, something Emergency Manager Tom Lenderink said we don't need.
"For a government agency just to own a building that stands for no other use other than sheltering is a very inefficient use of money," said Lenderink.
Right now, the county calls the Red Cross to set up shelters. During the blackout, only one warming center opened in eastern Idaho. It was in Driggs.
"I was in contact with a Red Cross shelter and there hadn't been a demand for an official Red Cross shelter," said Lenderink.
Lenderink's decision to not set up one could have been overridden by the Red Cross, but a manager there said the demand wasn't big enough. Madison County has seen its share of disasters.
Mikel Walker is the assistant chief of the Madison County Fire Department.
"Our elected officials put out the money and resources to make our buildings able to function in blackout and emergency situations," said Walker.
In Bonneville County, the Ammon Fire Department has generator power. The places that opened up to the public Wednesday did it voluntarily. Lenderink said until those places become full, the county will step in.
About 65,000 customers were without power on Wednesday. Rocky Mountain Power officials said there was a circuit breaker out for maintenance and that may have led to the outages.
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