Emergency Management Week Kicks Off

March 25-29 is Emergency Management Week in Grady, County, Okla., which is an initiative to raise awareness of the role of emergency management.

by Jessica Lane, The Express-Star, Chickasha, Okla. / March 26, 2019

(TNS) - Dale Thompson, Grady County Emergency Management Director, said people often ask him, "Emergency management? What's that?"

Thompson said emergency management may be explained as a county version of the federal agency FEMA. The two are similar in that both coordinate resources—such as police, fire departments and EMS—when disaster strikes.

March 25-29 is Emergency Management Week, which is an initiative to raise awareness of the role of emergency management.

In the Grady County Emergency Management Office, there is a screen showing current weather conditions. A news channel shows current events. On the desks, there are multiple monitors with a live map of the state. Emergency managers across Oklahoma keep an eye on not only their counties, but surrounding areas as well.

Thompson said emergency managers observe nearby jurisdictions because disaster could be coming their way or they may need to deploy assistance to their county neighbors.

The role of emergency managers extends beyond responding to disasters. They often work behind the scenes.

Thompson meets with the Grady County Commissioners once a week to update the county on potential severe weather, the Safe Room Program, potential funding, trianing and other issues concerning the safety of the county.

Emergency Management also coordinates safety exercises and updates the Hazard Mitigation Plan every five years so the county remains eligible for disaster assistance and grant funding.

There are more than 400 emergency managers across the state and many, including Grady County Emergency Management, are using the hashtag #EMWeek2019 to educate the public. Some of these Tweets and Facebook posts include:

Emergency management agencies prepare for, respond to, recover from and mitigate against disasters and emergencies, he said.

Emergency managers work with many government agencies to reduce or eliminate the effects of a hazard through #HazardMitigation

The first goal of Emergency Management is to reduce the loss of life.

Local Emergency Managers ensure jurisdictions have proper resources to respond to disasters

Since 2009, Oklahoma has received 24 presidential disaster declarations representing more than $870 million in infrastructure damage and millions more in private property damage from ice and snow storms, tornadoes, flooding and other severe weather.

To stay aware of potential emergencies, Thompson encourages Grady County residents to sign up for emergency alerts via Hyper-Reach. People may receive alerts for floods, fires, severe weather, public health alerts, criminal activity and more. Sign up at http://hyper-reach.com/okgradysignup.html, call 405-825-0102 or text "GradyAlerts" to 405-825-0102.

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©2019 The Express-Star (Chickasha, Okla.)

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