VIENNA - During future emergencies, residents of Vienna will turn to churches as a source of information and assistance, officials said.
The new emergency response plan for the City of Vienna will feature local churches as distribution centers for information and emergency aid, said Lauren Games, intern at Vienna City Hall.
The emergency plan has been a year in the making, said Mayor Randy Rapp. Local volunteers have teamed with the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Transportation Security Administration, MonPower and other agencies to address the shortfalls of the city during the derecho of June 2012, Rapp said.
St. Michael's Catholic Church in Vienna at 5501 4th Ave. Churches throughout Vienna can be used as short-term meeting places and information centers during future emergencies, officials said. (Photo by Jeff Baughan)
Wayside United Methodist Church, 3001 Grand Central Ave., is the only church in Vienna capable of offering long-term and overnight shelter in an emergency. (Photo by Jeff Baughan)
City Soul Ministries at 1101 46th St. in Vienna is included in Vienna’s emergency response plan. (Photo by Jeff Baughan)
"When the derecho hit, we realized that things were lacking in our community," Rapp said. "We were caught off-guard, especially in terms of communication. So we planned for future situations," he said.
In the event of future emergencies that interrupt power and communications throughout Vienna, residents will turn to the following churches in the city, based on the level of assistance they require.
Residents in need of information and needing to communicate with officials will turn to:
* St. Michael's Catholic Church, 5501 Fourth Ave.
* Christ Lutheran Church, 4513 Grand Central Ave.
* Faith Baptist Church, 1103 10th St.
* Independent Baptist Church, 406 27th St.
Residents who require the use of short-term meeting areas along with information and communication needs will turn to:
* Fellowship Baptist Church, 3300 Rosemar Road
* Grand Central Church of Christ, 59th Street.
* City Soul Ministries, 1101 46th St.
* Vienna Baptist Church, 3401 Grand Central Ave.
Residents who require long-term shelter due to an emergency along with information and communication can turn to:
* Wayside United Methodist Church, 3001 Grand Central Ave.
* Ohio Valley University, 1 Campus View Drive.
Wayside United Methodist Church has access to emergency power through generators, Games said. Ohio Valley University has offered the use of its dormitories in future emergencies, she said.
Vienna's first test of this emergency communication plan will take place on July 23, Games said. At 11 a.m., the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department's siren will sound for one minute to mark the beginning of the emergency preparedness drill.
The drill will simulate a truck running into the substation next to Foodland at 400 23rd St., Games said. Emergency vehicles will respond accordingly.
Officials wish to stress to residents and businesses that power will not actually be interrupted, nor will roads be completely shut down, during the exercise, Games said.
Mobile 911 dispatch units, firefighters and police will be around the Foodland area during the drill, Games said. Police will be carrying information between the above-mentioned emergency information centers to test how the communications system will function during an emergency.
Additional information about the emergency drill, as well as the city's 27-page emergency plan, is available on the main page of the city's website at vienna-wv.com