By Will E Sanders
PIQUA — In response to Piqua City Manager Gary Huff’s internal emergency declaration status Tuesday morning departments immediately began citywide preparation work in response to a predicted winter storm that was projected to hit the region overnight.
Even for departments like the police and fire departments, which are always prepared in the event of emergencies, there is still some preparation each department makes in response to winter weather.
Police Chief Bruce Jamison said the department’s priority is to always be looking ahead, especially as it relates to staffing and overtime.
“We are always looking at that when we are likely to experience problems and changing around our staffing to meet that need,” Jamison said. “It might mean that someone’s schedule is getting changed at the last minute.”
Before a big, forecasted winter weather event the police department also ensures that vehicles in the police fleet are operating correctly and “are in the best shape possible.”
Jamison said, basing his statements off of weather forecasts early Tuesday morning, that in this case a lot of snow will be coming down overnight.
“That means our night shift might have less patrols so they can be working on keeping everything running smoothly, including the shift that will come on after them in the morning,” he said.
Huff’s declaration was among the first the city ever gave concerning an approaching winter storm and Jamison said he thinks it demonstrates “a comprehensive approach to dealing with an emergency.”
“It means that other departments are free to operate more like we do on a daily basis,” Jamison said. “It means there is a difference in how they operate and how we can communicate with them.”
Jamison said another positive about the declaration is that it opens the communication lines between city departments.
“Internally, it will mean increased communication for all city services,” he said. “We appreciate this approach because it really does help our guys do their job and know what is happening in other city departments.”
The same goes for the Piqua Fire Department, who, by the department’s very nature, is always ready to rush out the door in the event of an emergency, said Fire Chief Mike Rindler.
“It doesn’t really have a big impact on us and we have been planning coordination, which started last week,” Rindler said. “It’s our job to always be prepared for emergencies. But it just re-enforces the fact that we all have to be prepared mentally.”
Among tasks the fire department conducts when the threat of winter weather is near is topping off every vehicle in the fleet and making sure every firefighter and paramedic has their cold weather gear at the ready, among others.
Will E Sanders may be reached at 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.