When Keith Rapp started his job, he saw one of his first tasks was to raise community awareness of emergency preparedness and get Gaston up to speed when it comes to being ready for major storms, like Florence last year.
(TNS) — Gaston County's emergency management director will leave his $102,000-a-year job after nine months on the job.
Keith Rapp came to Gaston County in November after a 32-year Army career that saw him retire as a lieutenant colonel. His last day on the job in Gaston County will be Aug. 16.
When Rapp started his job he saw one of his first tasks was to raise community awareness of emergency preparedness and get Gaston up to speed when it comes to being ready to go for major storms. Slow-moving tropical storms like Florence last year caused significant inland damage, including one death in Gaston County when a tree fell on a mobile home, killing an infant.
Keith Rapp, emergency management director, Gaston County, N.C. Photo by TNS/Mike Hensdill/The Gaston Gazette
Gaston's an outlier there even among its neighbors — Cleveland, Lincoln, Mecklenburg and York counties all have the storm-ready designation. In order to obtain the designation, communities have to keep several systems in place, including multiple ways to alert the public of severe weather, develop formal hazardous plans and conduct community seminars.
State regulators will visit Gaston County in September as part of the process to certify Gaston County as "storm ready," according to Gaston County administrators.
The task of coordinating a local emergency response to natural and manmade disasters ranging from train derailments, industrial accidents or flooding now falls on Capt. Myron Shelor, a 21-year veteran of the Gaston County Police Department.
Shelor will serve in the role on an interim basis and see his pay increase by 7 percent during that time. He now makes $79,072 a year, which would increase to $84,607 on a temporary basis.
Gaston County's proximity to major highways, two nuclear plants and a busy airport raises the possibility of serious manmade or natural disasters to this area, county officials say.
You can reach Kevin Ellis at 704-869-1823 or Twitter.com/TheGazetteKevin.
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