City of Lansing Emergency Management neighborhood orientation

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Emergency Management Specialist Ronda Oberlin educated members of the Averill Woods community on how to be better prepared on the local level for disasters like the ice storm in December.

“An emergency is an unexpected event that overwhelms the resources of a family or individual,” said Oberlin, who has been working with the city of Lansing emergency management for 15 years.

By Oberlin’s definition, the ice storm in December was definitely an emergency. According to WLNS-TV, more than 20,000 families and businesses in Lansing were without power from Saturday night to Sunday morning.

“I was without power for five days and went to a couple of stores trying to find a generator,” said Averill Woods resident Margaret Kingsbury. “Driving around the city, I could see all the damage.”

During Oberlin’s two-hour orientation, she cited numerous plans for disasters and said her department practices these plans “several times a year.”

However, Oberlin admitted the city did not do a good job with communicating and wanted to do better next time.

“There was uncertainty between the availability of resources,” said Averill Woods resident and 10-year neighborhood association member Melissa Quon Huber.

Huber and Oberlin provided handouts with detailed information on disaster relief.

Oberlin said the Lansing Office of Emergency Management uses a variety of outlets to distribute information, including television, radio, social media, the 211 number and Nixle.

Averill Woods resident Ken Jones said depending on television and radio can be a problem since a lot of residents were without power and did not have a smart phone to check information.

Kingsbury said she was satisfied with the meeting but also said the communication between the Emergency Management of Lansing and the Averill Woods community should be better, calling the communication during the December ice storm “invisible.”



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