As Hurricane Irene was bearing down on Delmarva in late August 2011, some residents and visitors in Rehoboth Beach felt they were receiving mixed messages from the city about whether or not businesses were closing, and who did and didn't have to evacuate. Police Chief Keith Banks felt that the city's emergency operations plan, which had been in place since 2005, was too broad, and no one would take responsibility for updating the document. That led Banks to try a different approach when Hurricane Sandy approached in late October of last year.
Banks came up with a more specific plan that created a chain of command, with him as emergency operations coordinator, and the ultimate decision-making authority resting in the hands of Mayor Sam Cooper and the Board of Commissioners. The plan also incorporated Rehoboth-Dewey Chamber of Commerce President Carol Everhart to keep downtown businesses in the loop with the city's emergency response. Banks felt that the plan worked well, so he presented it to the Mayor and Board of Commissioners during their February 4 workshop meeting. The plan was approved during their regular meeting on February 15.
Banks says he's now in the process of getting all of the city's department heads to get their standard operating procedures for specific emergencies into written form.
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