Leaders learn of EMS improvements

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 9, 2004

JACKSON – With information from the outside to help improve the Emergency Management Program in Northampton County, Central Branch Area 6 Coordinator Paul Denison presented a host of suggestions regarding the county’s direction of planning over the course of the next five years.

During their regularly scheduled quarterly meeting here last week, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners and the mayors of each municipality listened as Denison gave an overview of the county’s strengths and weaknesses and gave recommendations for improvement.

Among the strengths were the institutional and grants management knowledge of Emergency Management Director Ron Storey, who has remained active the last 18 months in the local emergency planning committee (LEPC) and Exercise Program EOC Operations.

Denison, whose coverage area includes Person, Granville, Vance, Franklin, Halifax, Northampton and Warren counties, expressed satisfaction with how the county came together in a cooperative effort with municipalities during Hurricane Isabel last year and commended town and county officials on their leadership.

&uot;When disaster strikes,&uot; said Storey, &uot;it doesn’t just affect the county, it affects each individual town. All counties play a very important part in the response to disasters that occur in the state and having an impact on several towns and counties in the state like Isabel.

&uot;Emergency Management is a county department, but is one of the 101 spokes that help support the response and recovery to a disaster event.&uot;

Denison also addressed the county’s weaknesses and recommended developing a comprehensive five-year training and exercise program with emphasis on interagency planning and exercises.

&uot;It would require little to no cost, increases overall team effort in the county and calls for high interest levels from elected officials,&uot; he said, adding a desire to task and use LEPC as primary committee.

&uot;An increased commitment to prepare for emergencies has historically never materialized until after the occurrence of a disaster,&uot; he shared.

&uot;This was only a small part of the meeting,&uot; said Storey, &uot;but a very crucial part for the officials. I feel the presentation was well received and I feel confident they will try to help by implementing the changes and heeding the recommendations presented in this meeting.&uot;