A temporarily-disabled legislator is again sounding the alarm about lack of emergency preparation at the state capitol. This past week there was another false fire alarm at the statehouse.
Representative Mark Kuhn, a Democrat from New Hampton, was seriously injured in a November farm accident and after using a wheelchair and walker for much of this year he has begun walking with two canes. He was maneuvering himself around the statehouse with those canes when the alarm went off Tuesday.
Kuhn says he did what he was supposed to do, which is go to the nearest stairwell and wait for the emergency personnel assigned to carry people with disabilities out of the building. “They keep asking me what I want to do,” Kuhn says. “I want to follow the plan.” Kuhn says there is a written plan for evacuations, but no one knows how to carry it out. This is the third time this year that Kuhn has raised this concern.
“We have to finally take (seriously) that the plan is more than words on a piece of paper,” Kuhn says. “It’s something that needs to be implemented and the people who have responsibilities in the plan need to know who they are and they need to carry them out.”
Kuhn says during this latest evacuation — caused by a false alarm, by the way, — troopers carried him out of the building in a special evacuation chair. Kuhn says he holds out hope that the state emergency management division and state troopers will assign one or two people who will take responsibility for statehouse evacuation plans.