Disaster Planning and Preparedness Pays Off

A massive fire Saturday in Delaware, Ohio damaged or completely destroyed many structures, among them the Juvenile Courthouse. Thousands of records weren’t lost to the damage, though.

Numerous natural disasters serve as examples of how a court system, government or business can be shut down without notice due to loss of records. Saturday’s fire could have meant the same for Delaware’s Juvenile Court.

A huge fire that damaged and destroyed a whole block of buildings in downtown Delaware also could have ruined court records in the Juvenile Courthouse.

“Most of our files are backed up digitally. So even if we can’t get to the paper files, we can access the images of all the files and operate as if the fire hadn’t occurred,” said Magistrate David Hejmanowski, Delaware Juvenile Court.

Mandates by the Supreme Court of Ohio might have saved the day for the Delaware Juvenile Courts.

“Fortunately, the Supreme Court has really pushed courts over the last few years to do COOP planning (Continuity Of Operations Planning) for just this kind of circumstance,” Hejmanowski said.

Because the records were scanned, they can be accessed remotely from anywhere in the county.

Fifteen computers are being installed for staff to work on in seven different county buildings throughout Delaware.

The COOP plan’s goal is to ensure courts are prepared to survive an emergency or disaster and backup locations are in place so courts don’t miss their court dates.


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