Incident Commander Marion Fire Chief Deb Krebill speaks during a disaster response team meeting at the Marion Command Center at Marion City Hall in Marion, Iowa on Thursday, August 20, 2020. (Jim Slosiarek / The Gazette)

After the derecho last year, Marion is in the process of developing a new emergency management plan from this year on.

Fire chief Deb Krebill said the last time the city updated its plan, Marion, a city of over 41,000 residents, was half the size of what it is today.

“Because of our growth, we have to rethink everything,” said Krebill. “The contingency plan we currently have was written for half the population. I’ve been pushing for a new plan for years. “

The city will work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Emergency Management Institute, and Linn County Emergency Management in developing the plan and delivering training.

Instead of creating a debriefing document like Cedar Rapids and Linn County, city guides met earlier this year to discuss what went well and what still needs to be worked on.

“It was decided at the time that an actual written report was not required as we would start developing our city’s new contingency plan anyway,” said Krebill. “We found that a lot of people have never done an emergency exercise. So when the derecho happened, I was given the job of telling everyone what to do. “

The city plans to conduct training drills with Linn County’s emergency management and may create its own list of dates for people with different health needs in the community. Marion will also look for other places to stay.

“We need agreements on training plans with various accommodation agencies and agreements on mutual aid,” said Krebill.

Part of the plan will be the establishment of a committee that will include all city departments, city council members, nonprofits, Linn County’s emergency management, and members of the public, Krebill previously told the city council.

Steve O’Konek, Linn County’s emergency management coordinator, said he is in frequent contact with Krebill and will do anything for Marion while they update her plan.

“Really, our partnership with Marion is if they said, ‘We want to sit down and work on a contingency plan,’ we would sit down around the table and help them discuss things they should consider, such as: . B. housing, long-term recovery, infrastructure plans, etc., ”he said.

O’Konek said training plans are already in the works with the city.

“She is [Krebill] asked for another training, chose official leadership training, ”said O’Konek. “Often officials come and go and they may not be very adept at emergency management, so it’s huge.”

The city will also receive instructions for the written plan from the Emergency Management Institute and training could begin in January. The city is now waiting for a new city manager to be hired and the upcoming city council elections before fully immersing, Krebill said.

“We can also use EMI training and have a common approach to dealing with all hazards and conditions,” Councilor Grant Harper said during the council meeting last month.

Other local governments have carried out follow-up inspections. Cedar Rapids hired Tennessee-based consultant Atchison Consulting for $ 25,000 this spring to do its review.

Linn County hired Collective Clarity for $ 40,000 to do their own review as well. Marion did not take part in the review of the district when asked.

“This is an internal document and technically we as Marion have not worked very closely with the Linn County’s EMA so we cannot really comment on what happened or what action they have taken,” Krebill told the council.

After the derecho, the city of Marion set up a command center in the town hall, in which the department heads took on new roles in disaster control and met several times a day to discuss the restoration.

“I was impressed with how we did the job,” said Krebill of the city’s staff. “Since most of our people had no education, it was like we knew exactly what we were doing. We always train for tornadoes and a tornado takes its way. But you always have resources out of the path. Who trains for a derecho? It never happened before. So there was no plan. “

Krebill said the new emergency management plan in Marion will ensure the city is prepared in case it is ever struck by a major disaster like the Derecho.

“We’ll be ready,” she said.

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