Northampton EMC brings vast knowledge to new job

Published 10:42 am Saturday, March 5, 2011

JACKSON — If there is one thing you should know about Brian Parnell, the new Northampton County Emergency Management Coordinator, it’s that he has come well prepared for the job.

Parnell’s first day on the job was a little over a month ago and so far, so good; he’s settling into his new role and getting familiar with the area and its citizens.

“I’m getting to know a lot of people; it’s a slow process,” he said.

Parnell was previously employed with Franklin County Emergency Services where he was deputy emergency management coordinator.

“I’m new to the coordinator position, but not new to emergency management,” he said.

Originally from Troy, he may be new to the emergency management coordinator position, but his involvement in emergency services spans 30 years. His draw to emergency services began when he was 16 years old through his brothers’ involvement with a local fire department.

“Fire fighting is what I knew,” he said. “It’s a passion I had since I was small.”

Emergency medical services (EMS) was another area that piqued Parnell’s interest, one he eventually pursued and became a NC State EMT paramedic.

With a firefighter and paramedic background, Parnell’s interest turned to emergency and disaster response. In 2008, he became EMS ops manager for Franklin County Emergency Services, which eventually led to the deputy coordinator position in Emergency Management.

Parnell has received associate degrees in emergency medical science as well as emergency preparedness technology. He is currently working on his bachelor’s degree in emergency/disaster management from Western Carolina University.

Among his numerous certifications and licenses, Parnell is a certified rescue technician and a master exercise practitioner. His long term goals include obtaining a Level I NC Emergency Management certification and NC Level II Firefighter certification.

Parnell seems to enjoy the education and training aspect emergency services often brings.

“You can’t beat getting trained and educated in what you want to do,” he said.

Looking to expand on his emergency management experience and apply his skills, Parnell sought to become emergency management coordinator in Northampton.

“(It was) the opportunity to use my skills and education, the opportunity for me to grow my area of emergency management and for the county to grow in emergency management aspect,” he said.

For now, Parnell is looking forward with working with the different county agencies as well as improving on what has already been laid out in Emergency Management.

“Emergency Management is changing everyday, the technology and how to respond (to emergencies and disasters),” he said.