Cutting emergency manager too risky
December 15, 2009 · Updated 10:03 AM
I’m writing this note to express my concern over the decision to replace our county’s emergency manager with an Island County deputy because of budget issues. It is my sincere hope that the commissioners reconsider this decision. I am a former supervisor of the South Whidbey Disaster Action Team (Red Cross) and an emergency manager with Boeing in Everett. Therefore, my concern is based on experience and true to life considerations.
An emergency manager’s duties involve: Risk management, risk assessment, hazard assessment, geography and topography, report building, plan creation and management, mitigation activities, exercise design and execution, volunteer management, people and project management and much more. Along with that, an emergency manager needs to have taken and or participated in a plethora of FEMA courses and exercises and be knowledgeable about how to navigate through their system.
Fortunately, we have an experienced emergency manager that not only has the above mentioned training but also experience in these things and more; much more. Dave Hollett has done wonders for this county’s level of readiness. We have comprehensive plans, we know what our risks are and we have a central contact point for all things regarding emergency management and disaster preparedness. Taking this experience and knowledge out of the emergency management office is putting our county at higher risk.
Island County is fortunate to have a full time emergency manager making our entry into the headlines less possible after a disaster. I don’t want to give that up and I hope that you feel the same.