Buckeye Lake Prepares For Disaster Drill Saturday


On Saturday morning, residents living near Buckeye Lake will take part in an evacuation drill.

It's been a little more than six weeks since a report revealed the Buckeye Lake dam is at risk of catastrophic failure. Since then, emergency management officials and first responders have been working to develop an evacuation plan.

Raymond Anderson wants to prepare for the worst and plans to take part in the evacuation drill.

"I'm more for it because I do live here," the Buckeye Lake Estates resident said. "My life is in danger."

Anderson's neighbor down the road--Joyce Bowman--won't be joining him.

"I'll just stay here," she said. "I'm not real scared."

But neighbor Jeff Volz is concerned, especially about his mother who is unable to leave their house.

"I don't think the village itself is equipped to handle all the homebound people," he said.

Part of the evacuation drill will be sounding the emergency sirens. The problem is not everyone can hear the sirens.

"Years ago you could hear when the siren went off for emergencies, but you can't hear it down here now," Bowman said.

That's why officials in Licking and Fairfield counties are urging folks to sign up for mobile alerts on their phones.

After the sirens are sounded and mobile alerts are issued Saturday morning around 9:30, buses will arrive at the Buckeye Lake Estates to transport residents to a simulated Red Cross Shelter at Millersport High School.

"The key for us is to get the first responders where they need to be as quickly and efficiently as possible," said Licking County EMA Director Sean Grady.

He says the drill will be one of several exercises at Buckeye Lake in the coming months. Grady wants to make sure residents are well-prepared for a worst-case scenario.

"When you hear that dam siren go off, that is not the time to pack," Grady said. "You need to be ready to go."

With an evacuation route sign across the street, Anderson is getting ready even though he doubts anyone can fully prepare.

"How do you really know?" he asked.

If you have yet to register your cell phone for mobile alerts, here are links to that information:

Fairfield County - http://www.fairfieldema.com/alerts/index.html

Licking County - https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/BF2A8E57F557

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