Champaign prepares for crisis situations

By David Just

The Champaign City Council held a study session Tuesday in the emergency operations center to discuss council responsibilities before, during and after a potential disaster.

The federally funded operations center is located in the basement of City Hall and serves as a meeting place for city officials in case of an emergency.

Deputy Fire Chief Steve Clarkson introduced the council to its role should a crisis occur and answered questions as part of the orientation.

“There will be, without a doubt, policy-level decisions that need to be made,” said Clarkson, citing evacuation, curfew and volunteers as examples.

Clarkson said the EOC will only be used when an event “exceeds the normal operational proceedings” of the police or fire departments and it is determined that additional support is required.

Once the EOC is put to use, city officials conduct damage assessment and determine how to use resources and take care of other areas, like transportation and shelter and welfare.

The operations center will be put to the test on June 26 as it takes part in a statewide practice to measure the city’s preparedness.