Etna offering Pine Creek emergency-preparedness event
Etna is hosting a free Pine Creek Awareness Day from 1 to 4 p.m. March 23 at Fugh Hall, 27 Crescent Ave.
The free event will feature representatives from the many organizations disseminating information about flooding and general emergency-preparedness.
The American Red Cross will provide its adult “Be Red Cross Ready” class from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Volunteer Joe Korinchak of Richland said the session will highlight information about the nonprofit, important steps to take in the event of a community-wide natural disasters and how to create an emergency plan for households in three steps.
Korinchak encourages people to attend the event so they can, in turn, “share this life-saving information received in this session with family, friends and neighbors.”
While the adults are in class, ECO and Etna Ecodistrict “water champions” volunteers will lead educational activities for children and teens.
“Their engagement is a direct result of the Idea Round-up that Alexis Boytim and Brian Wolovich led on Jan. 9 where five $2,000 grants were awarded to each of the EcoDistrict’s Quality of Life issues,” said Robert Tunon, a Rothschild Doyno Collaborative Architecture associate who leads the Ecodistrict efforts as a volunteer. An AmeriCorps VISTA through New Sun Rising, Boytim supports the Triboro Ecodistrict composed of Millvale, Sharpsburg and Etna. Wolovich directs the Triboro Ecodistrict.
The borough’s Program for Public Information committee, part of its FEMA Community Rating System (CRS) efforts, developed the Pine Creek Awareness event idea. In 1990, FEMA established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) CRS as a voluntary initiative recognizing community floodplain management activities exceeding the minimum NFIP standards.
“Etna at one time was a class 10 in the rating system, but because we participate and present information on a regular basis, we are now a class 7,” said Meg Hill, committee member. “And a class 7 gets people who are mandated to get flood insurance a 15 percent discount.”
“As part of our Community Rating System, public education on emergency preparedness, response and recovery, are a key function of the program and this committee looks at ways to continue educating our residents and property owners,” Etna Manager Mary Ellen Ramage said.
Hill said that last year the group conducted testing to ensure that “every square inch of the borough” could hear a new flood siren system.
Throughout the day, Shaler township engineer Matt Sebastian will present information about the township’s recent Fall Run Park renovations, flood control lever near Route 8 and smaller stormwater management projects.
“We look to coordinate efforts with our neighboring communities of Etna and Millvale,” Sebastian said during a March 12 commissioners meeting. “You know, when we do work on the streams or near the streams in Shaler, it impacts our downstream neighbors. So that’s something we continue to participate in.”
Hill has resided almost 35 years near the Little Pine Creek flood control project.
“People get flood amnesia. They really do. So, the last flood was 2004. New people buy, and they’re not aware of what the people in the neighborhood went through, so this is a way to remind people.”