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MAHONING COUNTY Duzzny, officials to work on plan



Published: Tue, April 30, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The agency is buying disaster-response equipment using $100,000 in federal money.

By IAN HILL

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

AUSTINTOWN -- Walter Duzzny has three words to describe the future of emergency planning in Mahoning County:

"Mitigation, mitigation, mitigation," said the director of the county's Emergency Management Agency, during a presentation to the Eastgate Regional Council of Government's general policy board Monday.

He said he will meet with local officials to develop a mitigation plan that could help reduce the effect of a disaster. "Be it technological, or be it on the side of nature," Duzzny said.

Increasing security

In addition, Duzzny is encouraging local government and business officials to determine if they can increase their security to prevent a terrorist attack. He also asked for Eastgate's help in uniting governments in Ashtabula, Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties in an effort to help plan for a disaster that would affect the area's infrastructure.

"We need to look at regionalism," Duzzny said.

John Getchey, Eastgate executive director, said his organization could help prepare the Mahoning Valley for a disaster that would damage or cause congestion on local roads.

"There's a lot of things out there that need to be addressed," Getchey said.

During his presentation, Duzzny talked about what the EMA has done to increase security while helping to prepare local residents for a disaster. He stressed that local residents need to understand that Mahoning County could be the target of a terrorist attack or the site of a natural disaster.

"As long as we're part of this country ... then we're going to be as much of a target as anyone in this country," Duzzny said.

Targeting areas

He said that in recent months, his agency has helped create a list of local sites like the Meander Reservoir that could benefit from additional security The report was sent to the U.S. Department of Justice and used in homeland security planning, Duzzny said.

Duzzny also said the agency is working on buying disaster-response equipment using $100,000 in federal money.

He said the EMA has brought in federal employees to teach police, firefighters and paramedics how to deal with chemical and biological agents.

He noted that in October, emergency officials received about 450 reports from local residents concerned that they had been exposed to anthrax. Tests revealed there was no anthrax.

hill@vindy.com




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