[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Wallingford 5-27-1975 by Ord. No. 200. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is the intent and purpose of this chapter to establish and this does hereby establish an Office of Civil Preparedness, which will ensure the complete and efficient utilization of all the town's facilities to combat disaster resulting from enemy actions or other disasters as defined herein.
Wallingford Office of Civil Preparedness will be the coordinating agency for all activity in connection with civil preparedness; it will be the instrument through which the Mayor may exercise the authority and discharge the responsibilities vested in him under Title 28, Chapter 517, of the Connecticut General Statutes, as amended, Chapter X, Section 5, of the Town Charter, as amended, and this chapter.
This chapter will not relieve any town department of the moral responsibilities or authority given to it in the Town Charter, Connecticut General Statutes or by local ordinance, nor will it adversely affect the work of any volunteer agency organized for relief in disaster emergencies.
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation of this chapter:
- A direct or indirect assault against the Town of Wallingford, its government, its environs or of the nation by the forces of a hostile nation or the agents thereof, including assault by bombing, radiological, chemical or biological warfare or sabotage.
- CIVIL PREPAREDNESS
- In its broad meaning, to carry out the basic government functions of maintaining the public peace, health, safety and welfare during an emergency. This shall include plans and preparations for protection from and relief, recovery and rehabilitation from the effects of attack on the town by the forces of an enemy nation or the agents thereof, and it shall also include such activity in connection with disaster as defined herein. It shall not, however, include any activity that is the primary responsibility of the military forces of the United States.
- CIVIL PREPAREDNESS FORCES
- The employees, equipment and facilities of all town departments, boards, institutions and commissions; and, in addition, it shall include all volunteer personnel and equipment and facilities contributed to or obtained from volunteer persons or agencies.
- CIVIL PREPAREDNESS VOLUNTEER
- Any person duly registered, identified and appointed by the Director of the Office of Civil Preparedness and assigned to participate in the civil preparedness activity. Such appointment shall be in accordance with Title 28, Chapter 517, of the General Statutes of the State of Connecticut, as amended.
- The administrator of the Wallingford Office of Civil Preparedness, appointed as prescribed in this chapter.
- Includes but is not limited to actual or threatened enemy attack, sabotage, extraordinary fire, flood, storm, epidemic or other impending or actual calamity endangering or threatening to endanger health, life or property or constituted government.
- Includes plans, programs and other emergency procedures deemed essential to civil preparedness.
- Contributing a service, equipment or facilities to the civil preparedness organization without remuneration.
The Mayor is hereby authorized and directed to create an organization for civil preparedness utilizing to the fullest extent the existing agencies within this town. The Mayor, as executive head of the municipal government, shall be responsible for the organization, administration and operations of the Office of Civil Preparedness.
The organization shall consist of the following:
An Office of Civil Preparedness within the Executive Department of the town government and under the direction of the Mayor. There shall be an executive head of the Office of Civil Preparedness, who shall be known as the "Director of the Office of Civil Preparedness," and such assistants and other employees as are deemed necessary for the proper functioning of the organization.
The employees, equipment and facilities of all town departments, boards, institutions and commissions will participate in the civil preparedness activity. Duties assigned to a town department shall be the same or similar to the normal duties of the department. This shall also apply to public school facilities and personnel.
Volunteer persons and agencies offering service to and accepted by the town.
The Mayor may appoint a Director of the Wallingford Office of Civil Preparedness, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter X, Section 5, of the Town Charter, who shall be a person well versed and trained in planning operations involving the activities of many different agencies, which will operate to protect the public health, safety and welfare in the event of danger from enemy action or disaster, as defined in this chapter.
The Director, with approval of the Mayor, shall appoint Deputy Directors to assume the emergency duties of the Director in the event of his absence or inability to act.
The Mayor may exercise the emergency power and authority necessary to fulfill his general powers and duties as defined in Chapter X, Section 5, of the Town Charter. The judgment of the Mayor shall be the sole criteria necessary to invoke emergency powers provided in the Town Charter, the Ordinance Code and other appropriate authorities. The Town Council may convene to perform its legislative powers as the situation demands and shall receive reports relative to civil preparedness activities.
During any period when disaster threatens or when the town has been struck by disaster, within the definition of this chapter, the Mayor may promulgate such regulations as he deems necessary to protect life and property and preserve critical resources. Such regulations may include but shall not be limited to the following:
Regulations prohibiting or restricting the movement of vehicles in order to facilitate the work of civil preparedness forces or to facilitate the mass movement of persons from critical areas within or without the town.
Regulations pertaining to the movement of persons from areas deemed to be hazardous or vulnerable to disaster.
Such other regulations necessary to preserve public peace, health and safety.
Regulations promulgated in accordance with the authority above will be given widespread circulation by proclamations published and uttered by newspapers and electronic media. These regulations will have the force of an ordinance when duly filed with the Town Clerk, and violations will be subject to the penalties provided in Section 5 of Chapter X of the Town Charter.
The Mayor shall order civil preparedness forces to the aid of other communities when required in accordance with the statutes of the state, and he may request the state, or a political subdivision of the state, to send aid to the Town of Wallingford in case of disaster when conditions in the town are beyond the control of the local civil preparedness forces.
The Mayor may obtain vital supplies, equipment and other properties found lacking and needed for the protection of health, life and property of the people and bind the town for the fair value thereof.
The Mayor may require emergency services of any town officer or employees. If regular town forces are determined inadequate, the Mayor may require the services of such other personnel as he can obtain that are available, including citizen volunteers. All duly authorized persons rendering emergency services shall be entitled to the privileges and immunities as are provided by state law, the Town Charter and ordinances for regular town employees and other registered and identified civil preparedness and disaster workers.
The Mayor will cause to be prepared the operations plan herein referred to and to exercise his ordinary powers as Mayor, all of the special powers conferred upon him by the Town Charter and the Ordinance Code of the Town of Wallingford, all powers conferred upon him by any statute or any other lawful authority.
The Director of the Office of Civil Preparedness. The Director of the Office of Civil Preparedness shall be responsible to the Mayor in regard to all phases of the civil preparedness activity. Under the supervision of the Mayor, he shall be responsible for the planning, coordination and operation of the civil preparedness activity in the town. Under the supervision of the Mayor, he shall maintain liaison with the state and federal authorities and the authorities of other nearby political subdivisions as to ensure the most effective operation of the civil preparedness plan. His duties shall include but not be limited to the following:
Coordinating the recruitment of volunteer personnel and agencies to augment the personnel and facilities of the town for civil preparedness purposes.
Development, testing and coordination of plans for the immediate use of all of the facilities, equipment, manpower and other resources of the town for the purpose of minimizing or preventing damage to persons and property and protecting and restoring to usefulness governmental services and public utilities necessary for the public health, safety and welfare.
Negotiating and concluding agreements with owners or persons in control of buildings or other property for the use of such buildings or other property for the civil preparedness purposes and designating suitable buildings as public shelters.
Through public information programs, educating the civilian population as to actions necessary and required for the protection of their persons and property in case of enemy attack or disaster as defined herein, either impending or present.
Conducting public practice alerts to ensure the efficient operation of the civil preparedness forces and to familiarize residents with civil preparedness regulations, procedures and operations.
Coordinating the activity of all other public and private agencies engaged in any civil preparedness activity.
Assuming such authority and conducting such activity as the Mayor may direct to promote and execute the civil preparedness plan.
A comprehensive civil preparedness and disaster operations plan shall be adopted and maintained by resolution of the Town Council, upon the recommendations of the Mayor. In the preparation of this plan as it pertains to town organization, it is the intent that the services, equipment, facilities and personnel of all existing departments and agencies shall be utilized to the fullest extent. When approved, it shall be the duty of all municipal departments and agencies to perform the functions assigned by the plan and to maintain their portion of the plan in a current state of readiness at all times. The operations plan shall be considered supplementary to this chapter and have the effect of law whenever a disaster, as defined in this chapter, has been proclaimed.
The Mayor shall prescribe in the operations plan those positions within the disaster organization, in addition to his own, for which lines of succession are necessary. In each instance, the responsible person will designate and keep on file with the Mayor and the Director a current list of three persons as successors to his position. The list will be in order of succession and will as nearly as possible designate persons best capable of carrying out all assigned duties and functions.
Each service chief and department head assigned responsibility in the operations plan shall be responsible for carrying out all duties and functions assigned therein. Duties will include the organization and training of assigned town employees and volunteers. Each chief shall formulate the operational plan for his service which, when approved, shall be an annex to and a part of the operations plan. All other town employees not specifically assigned a disaster task shall make themselves available upon request of the Mayor for emergency assignments and duties.
Amendments to the operations plan shall be submitted to the Mayor by the Director. If approved, the Mayor will submit the amendments to the Town Council with his recommendations for their approval. Such amendments shall take effect immediately unless action is taken by the Town Council disapproving the Mayor's submission. In the event that an amendment is pending at the time that a disaster is proclaimed under the provisions of this chapter, the amendment will be considered approved immediately and will remain effective unless specifically revoked by the Town Council.
When required competency or skill for a disaster function is not available within the town government, the Mayor is authorized to seek assistance from persons outside of government. The assignment of duties, when of a supervisory nature, shall also grant authority for the persons so assigned to carry out such duties prior to, during and after the occurrence of a disaster. Such services from persons outside of government may be accepted by the town on a volunteer basis. Such citizens shall be enrolled as civil preparedness volunteers in cooperation with the heads of town departments affected.
Some of the duties ascribed to the Mayor in this section will ordinarily be handled as a matter of routine by the Director, but the responsibility and authority stem from and remain with the Mayor.
This chapter is an exercise by the town of its governmental functions for the protection of the public peace, health, safety and welfare, and neither the town nor agents and representatives of said town nor any individual, receiver, firm, partnership, corporation, association or trustee or any of the agents thereof in good faith carrying out, complying with or attempting to comply with any order, rule or regulation promulgated pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be liable for any damage sustained to persons or property as a result of said activity.
Any person owning or controlling real estate or other premises who voluntarily and without compensation grants the town the right to inspect, designate and use the whole or any part or parts of such real estate or premises for the purpose of sheltering persons during an actual, impending or practice enemy attack or any type of emergency situation shall not be civilly liable for the death of or injury to any persons on or about such real estate or premises under such license, privilege or other permission or for loss of or damage to the property of such person.
It shall be unlawful for any person to violate any of the provisions of this chapter or of the regulations or plans issued pursuant to the authority contained herein, or to willfully obstruct, hinder or delay any member of the civil preparedness organization as herein defined in the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter or any regulation or plan issued thereunder.
Any person, firm or corporation or subdivision thereof violating any provision of this chapter or any rule or regulation promulgated thereunder shall be subjected to the penalties of Section 5 of Chapter X of the Town Charter and/or Section 28-22, Title 28, Chapter 517, of the General Statutes of the State of Connecticut.
At all times when the orders, rules and regulations made and promulgated pursuant to this chapter shall be in effect, they shall supersede all existing ordinances, orders, rules and regulations insofar as the latter may be inconsistent therewith.