Dreaming of a white Christmas? The Putnam County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) has its attention on winter weather, but not the merry and bright days.
EMA Director Tom Helmer presented the Putnam County Commissioners with an amended version of the county's emergency travel ordinance at the Monday, Dec. 19 meeting.
The changes Helmer proposed are minor, but could make a major difference in citizens' understanding of county declarations in emergency conditions.
Rather than numbering the levels of weather emergencies from one through four, the new proposal would label the classifications as Warning, Watch, Advisory and Caution.
The new labels would bring the county's terminology in line with the classifications used by the state. Helmer said he hoped this would make the meanings clearer to citizens.
The exact definitions of the four emergency classifications, beginning with the most serious, are as follows:
* Warning: Travel may be restricted to emergency personnel only. Citizens are directed to refrain from all travel, comply with necessary emergency measures, cooperate with public officials and disaster services forces in executing operations plans, and comply with the directions of properly identified officers. Further and more specific restrictions may be included in the disaster declaration.
* Watch: Conditions are threatening to the safety of the public. Only essential travel is recommended (i.e., to and from work, emergency situations, etc.). Emergency action plans have been or should be implemented by business, schools, government agencies and other organizations.
* Advisory: Routine travel or activities may be restricted in areas because of a hazardous situation. Citizens should use caution or avoid these areas because of a hazardous situation. Schools and businesses may begin to implement their emergency action plans.
* Caution: A condition may develop that limits or hinders travel in isolated areas. No travel restrictions have been placed in effect by county officials, but citizens should be alert to changing conditions.
The proposal met with the approval of the commissioners, but the ordinance cannot be officially enacted without public notice. The changes will be advertised before the commissioners vote on the issue at an upcoming meeting.
In the interest of expedient emergency response, Helmer is also reminding homeowners of the county ordinance regarding the display of address numbers on structures.
Although the law has been on the books for some time, the county is placing renewed emphasis on it, and will be enforcing the ordinance.
In the case of structures within 100 feet of the roadway, the road number should be located near the main entry door. For rural addresses, the number should be placed on both sides of the mailbox or mailbox post or on a sign near the end of the driveway. Numbers should be visible from both directions of travel.
The regulation further states that numbers should be at least three inches tall and easily visible.
Property owners found to be in violation of the ordinance will be warned in writing by the director of the Putnam County Advisory Plan Commission.
If an address is still not in compliance 30 days after the warning, the property owner may be cited $10 per day until it is remedied.