The Director of Emergency Services took offense at what I wrote above the photo of the agency’s trailer in my third County Fair story.
Besides overt political booths, I took photos of governmental and religious booths.
Expenditure of tax dollars is certainly part of the political process.
At any rate, here is Director David Christensen’s reply:
Your dig on Emergency Management in a recent blog posting about the fair did not go unnoticed.
I wanted to update you on why EMA resources have had a presence for many years.
First of all it is staffed by volunteers.
They are part of our Search and Rescue, Support, Communications,
Severe weather spotters, and other emergency management roles.
They have been recognized by Presidential decree for their thousands of hours of donated time assisting our county and public safety agencies.
Paid staff makes periodic visits to the Fair site to provide oversight and ensure operations are as intended.
The purpose of the trailer and the volunteers who staff it are to:
- Assist the Sheriff’s Office with a coordinating point for their mission at the fair.
- Assess risk and hazards to subsequently develop contingencies. We develop weather triggers for evacuation or shelter in place issues, including timing.
- Provide weather intel to fair staff. We are a registered event with the National Weather Service. (EMA has assisted in two severe weather evacuations, of the Fair Grounds in the last 4 years. You may have noticed weather service impact statements which specifically mention the fairgrounds as part of our mutual agreements and planning.)
- Assist in reuniting lost children with their parents/guardians.
- Provide emergency lighting at critical egress points.
- Support and provide emergency communications to all public safety and fair staff.
- Provide a focal point for fair goers in need of special or emergency assistance.
- Provide ingress / egress guidance/assistance for EMS emergency calls.
- Provide informational literature on the emergency services volunteer organization and preparedness literature.