40. Detailed Emergency Planning

Yesterday I worked a 15 hour day as a Polling Location Manager for my county’s board of elections. There are changes every single year in how elections are run, and a change that caught my attention last November was that each polling location received a copy of the board’s new Emergency/Crisis Management Plan.

This plan was designed for use at all locations, and contained general information about what actions to take if commonly encountered types of emergencies occurred. The specifics of each polling location were not considered.

I thought about this plan with regards to my particular polling location. The polling place was located in a meeting room at the county Combined Health District. Normally, I would not have zeroed in on that fact, but I happened to know that this same meeting room was also designated as the health district’s Disaster Operations Center, or DOC, during a health emergency. With Ebola in Ohio as a real concern, two weeks ago I approached the elections leadership about adding a specific contingency plan for that possibility.

I was pleased when the county health commissioner contacted me later to let me know that if needed he would temporarily open the DOC in another room of the building to avoid having to move the polling location. So now I had both a general and a specific emergency plan for my precinct!

And while we’re on the subject of health departments, have you gotten your flu shot yet?