The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

March 3, 2013

City emergency operations plan goes high-tech

Dave Sutor
dsutor@tribdem.com

JOHNSTOWN — Johnstown Fire Department Chief Anthony Kovacic showed city council members both a small stack of CDs and a fat three-ring binder filled with hundreds of pages on Wednesday.

The demonstration was meant to visually explain how the department has modernized its emergency operations plan.

In the past, Kovacic would give each individual a copy of the in-depth plan on printed pages. “We were just killing trees, left and right,” said the chief with a smile.

This year, he burned the report onto CDs, which will provide council members the ability to easily search through the voluminous amount of information on their home computers. “We invested a good bit of time going through the document, making sure that we modernized it,” Kovacic said.

Kovacic revamps the plan every two years to make sure information is up-to-date and accurate.

“We’re very fortunate to have such a highly professional and educated chief,” said City Councilman Pete Vizza. “Tony has done a great job for the city. He’s looking out not only for just the citizens of the city, but the whole area.”

The main 26-page plan outlines basic safety procedures.

More than a dozen annexes provide details about how to handle winter storms, flooding, mass evacuations and numerous other emergency situations.

There are separate sections for all events that attract large crowds, including Thunder in the Valley, PolkaFest and Showcase for Commerce.

“It’s an opportunity for us to put in print – long before there’s an issue – how we’re going to manage a problem, and it’s all-inclusive,” Kovacic said.

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