Getting it right: boil water advisory protocol

 

“A lot of people didn’t even know it had happened until it was over,” said South Dundas Councillor Evonne Delegarde, in reference to the Boil Water Advisory in August.

On December 20th, Chief Administrative Officer Stephen McDonald put forth a final version of the new Boil Water Advisory Protocol. Discussion ensued and it was eventually decided that more work needed to be done on the protocol, leaving the motion deferred until a later date.

The report included lists of establishments to be notified, lists of places to mount warning advertisements, and lists of media to be contacted in the event of another emergency situation. 

It was also suggested that a database of resident contact information be compiled so that people might be contacted via phone, whether by township employees or by a paid outside source.

After reading the report and listening to McDonald’s recommendation, Delegarde pointed out, “a lot of elderly don’t get out” to see posted signs in the community.

She told council: “my preference would be to go door-to-door right off the start.”

Councillor Archie Mellan reminded council: “the first few hours are probably the most critical.” He maintained that “whatever (method) is the most thorough and the quickest is the best, in my mind.”

Council discussed the positives and negatives of several methods  for conveying critical news to the residents of South Dundas. 

In terms of telephone versus door-to-door, Mayor Steven Byvelds said, “most young people don’t use land lines anymore and most cell phones aren’t listed. Door-to-door is our best and most economical option.”

McDonald reminded council that “our response is contingent on how many people we have available to do it.”

Deputy-Mayor Jim Locke suggested the Lions Clubs as possible volunteers to help in such a situation.

It was agreed by everyone that a resource base of volunteers would be a very valuable tool. The  underlying idea being that the more people on hand to spread the information, the quicker people are informed. 

In the end, McDonald agreed to come back to council, in January, with revisions to the protocol.

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