EMERGENCY MANAGER PROVIDES EXPLANATION
By Rich Donaldson, Director, Grant County Emergency Management

I have been asked several times since I was appointed to this position “Just what does an Emergency Manager do”?  

An Emergency Manager (EM) prepares for emergencies and disasters and responds to them when they occur.  Not like a first responder, such as firefighters or law enforcement, but as manager of resources before, during and after a disaster or event.  Additionally, an EM helps people and institutions recover from emergency situations and works to reduce future losses.

There are four phases of the Emergency Management process:
Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery.

Mitigation includes activities to eliminate or reduce the effects of a disaster or chemical hazard incident.  The EM works with individuals, groups and industry to identify sources of potential hazards.  The partnership helps negate the effect of major emergencies or disasters.

Preparedness is a planning process answering the questions of how first responders and government entities respond to an emergency situation.  The EM works with these agencies to plan an effective response, before a disaster or chemical incident occurs. 

Response covers the period during and immediately following a disaster or incident.  The Public officials provide assistance to victims of the event and try to reduce the likelihood of further damage.  Grant County Volunteer Fire Departments, local and county law enforcement and emergency medical services are the county’s first responders.  The Emergency Manager works with federal and state agencies, the Grant County Highway Department, city public works departments and public utilities as well as the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT), to provide assistance to first responders with support resources.

Recovery continues until all systems return to normal or near-normal operations.  Short term recovery restores vital life support systems to minimum operating conditions.  Long term recovery may go on for months or even years.  The EM works with federal, state and local organizations to build a recovery plan and manages its implementation until the recovery phase is completed.

Although it sounds like the Emergency Manager works alone, the Emergency Manager isn’t and can’t be a one man band.  An EM depends heavily upon various organizations, community groups and industry for help and support.  Without the support of state and local government bodies, first responders, dispatch teams, weather storm spotters and reporters, local business owners, oil and gas industries, communities and the individual people and families of Grant County, the aim of this position would be unachievable.

Lessons learned from large disasters such as Sandy and Katrina show that each of us is responsible for our own safety and emergency preparedness.  Grant County Emergency Management provides information and support for the citizens of Grant County to become ready for any disaster or event that may come their way.  For further information regarding emergency preparedness, please contact Rich Donaldson at grantcountyem@gmail.com, 580 541 1027 (cell), 580 541 2214 (office).  For further information on how your county government works and to sign up for Code Red, go to the sign up page.