City and County Emergency Management Planning Process
By LYDIA BERGLAR
Starting this fall and continuing until February 2023, Dade County and the City of Trenton are working on emergency management planning. This process involves several phases and will result in plans that can easily be updated as needed.
This preparation and the training which will come from it is intended to keep essential operations running in the event of man-made or natural disasters.
Mayor Alex Case, who also serves as the Emergency Management Agency (EMA) director, explained during the Dec. 1 Dade County Board of Commissioners meeting, “If this building was to take a hit, think about everything that’s in here. If this building got hit like the schools did in 2011, we’d be in trouble. How can we get back to essential operations in 12 hours? We’ve got to know how to keep going. We’ve got to have a place to go.”
In the second and fourth weeks of October, the city and county completed Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) training through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Surrounding counties (Walker, Catoosa, Gordon, and Whitfield) also attended the training.
Case stated that they needed guidance as they created COOP plans, and the FEMA training provided that. “This is part of our safety plan that we turn in every year and it’s part of how we get federal funds.”
Carey Anderson, public information & relations officer for the county, explained, “This was step one of a multi-step process. Department heads attended that training so they could start thinking about plans for their departments.”
In November, the department heads began working on their COOPs which they will complete in December. Then, they will meet with the Emergency Management Agency (EMA) to review the plans. Alongside Case, Ansel Smith (assistant fire chief) serves as the assistant EMA director.
According to Anderson, “EMA will work with department heads to approve the plans and make sure they are compatible with each other. Then, each department will put together a training process for their employees.”
The final step is training employees so all are prepared for potential disasters.
With this training, planning, and preparation completed, both county and city leaders and employees will be prepared to respond quickly and appropriately to keep essential functions running and to care for affected citizens should situations arise.