LEESBURG, Va. (WDVM) — A Loudoun County emergency evacuation service is moving to a new platform. Officials say this will streamline the process for first responders assisting people with physical and intellectual disabilities in the event of an emergency.
“Anyone who lives or works in Loudoun County who has a mobility, hearing or vision impairment; mental illness, cognitive disability or other disabilities or medical needs, and who requires assistance to safely evacuate during an emergency is eligible for the registry,” the county said in a release. The registry is also open to anyone with short-term disability like a broken leg, for example.
People with disabilities who work or live independently in the county must re-register for Loudoun’s evacuation assistance registry, or CLEAR, by the end of February. Old data will not be deleted, but new information must be added. The new system is more detailed and will immediately pinpoint up to five of the person’s addresses on a map.
“Our emergency management staff duty officer can — in an instant — look at that map if there’s an evacuation, which we’re engaged with, then we’ll know immediately where those people are and where we need to send additional assistance,” said Jeff Fletcher, deputy coordinator of the Department of Emergency Management. “We’re going to help everybody but we, at least, know to go to these places first and that there might need to be a little more assistance there.”
“The efficiency has increased with the new system and thus we feel that the effectiveness will improve as well,” Fletcher said.
The department has sent out an email about the switch to all of the files in the system; some of which have been using CLEAR since it was launched in 2006. Fletcher estimates between 100 to 200 people use the system.