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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — A section on “pandemic/infectious emergency” has been added to the Village of Colfax’s emergency operations plan.
The Colfax Village Board’s Public Safety Committee reviewed the section on “pandemic/infectious emergency,” along with sections on the outdoor warning siren and Dunn County’s Code Red program, which were already included in the emergency operations plan, prior to the village board’s July 12 meeting and recommended approval.
The section on “pandemic/infectious emergency” establishes that the Village of Colfax will follow guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as guidelines and orders from the state of Wisconsin and recommendations and orders from the Dunn County Health Department.
“Keeping in mind village operation is essential to the life and safety of its residents, the village operations must continue no matter what the disease is to provide safe water and sewer, public safety, and general government operation that can only be accomplished through safety planning and everyone working as a team, regardless of political interest or personal opinions,” according to the emergency operations plan.
The plan goes on to say that people notice what village employees and elected officials do, “so it is of the utmost importance that people representing the village follow the recommendation/guidance/orders to present a unified front. People will not follow leaders if leaders cannot follow guidance.”
In addition, the emergency operations plan states that village departments will:
• Conduct a review of practices as to how best to comply with recommendations/guidelines/orders to protect employees and citizens to prevent the spread of disease.
• Implement scheduling and staffing changes with village board approval to maintain a workforce and to minimize exposure, and possibly including working remotely as jobs will allow.
• Implement disinfection procedures within departments to minimize exposure to contagions.
• Limit public meeting areas and parks based on recommendations, guidelines and orders for spacing, occupancy and personal protective devices.
• Conduct meetings in virtual form to minimize exposures of elected officials, staff and members of the public.
• Send employees home who report to work sick, or who become sick at work, and ask them to stay home until they are shown not to be contagious. Employees who knowingly show up at work sick without being proven to not be contagious could face disciplinary action.
The section on “pandemics/infectious emergencies” ends by saying that the village health officer will maintain communication with the director of the Dunn County Health Department on a regular basis to receive the most up-to-date information.
Since pandemics or infectious outbreaks can evolve rapidly, the village health officer will provide updates to the clerk-treasurer-administrator as events evolve.
To read more of the village’s emergency operations plan, visit www.villageofcolfaxwi.org. The emergency operations plan is located under the drop-down menu at the top for “village board.”
The section on the village’s outdoor warning siren notes that the siren is activated remotely from Dunn County Dispatch, but if the siren fails to be activated, it can be manually activated from the Colfax Rescue Squad ambulance bay. Directions are posted on the siren box.
The siren is activated for severe thunderstorm warnings, when severe thunderstorms are occurring, with high winds or hail, and for tornado warnings, when a tornado has been spotted or radar indicates a tornado.
Severe thunderstorm warnings or tornado warnings are the only two instances in which the outdoor warning siren will be used.
When the siren is activated, people should check the radio, television stations or their phone application to monitor the weather.
An activated outdoor warning siren is not a signal to evacuate. The siren is purely for notification.
Dunn County has a notification system called “Code Red.”
Village residents can sign up for telephone notifications, both cellular telephone and landline, through the Dunn County Emergency Government website.
The system is used for non-weather related notifications, such as water emergency shut off, road detours or evacuations.
[In the past, Code Red has also been used to alert county residents about missing children or missing vulnerable adults.]
For a village emergency, the Village of Colfax will notify the emergency management office, and emergency management will issue the notification.
Code Red is an efficient system of notification, but the notifications only go to those who pre-register.
In other business during the six-minute meeting, the Colfax Village Board approved bartender operator’s licenses from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022, for Hailey Prince (Colfax Softball Association); Bailey Haugle-Score (Express Mart) and Kendra Dennis (Outhouse Bar).