Marshall County Emergency Management Agency Director, Clyde Avery informed the County Commissioners on Monday of the award letter from the state for the 2022 Emergency Management Performance Grant. The grant reimburses the county 50% of the director’s salary once the county has met the qualification.
Avery said he’s been working with several organizations on developing exercises for them. He was able to complete an exercise with the Amateur Radio Group in October that included HAM Radio operators from Marshall and Kosciusko County and District 1.
Avery said he’s been working with the school corporation’s Safety Committee through Ted Brown from the Plymouth Community School Corporation and Troy Heckaman from Culver Academies for a School Safety exercise to test their crisis communications plan to see how it works in the event that any of them would have to implement it.
The County EMA Director also met with the Lake Latonka Property Owners Association Advisory Board. They are interested in conducting an exercise in case there was a breach or damage to the dam. They also want to test the aspects of their communication plan.
Avery told the commissioners they have completed the necessary requirements to renew the Storm Ready Designation for the county. This designation assists in lowering insurance costs for citizens and businesses in the county.
Commissioner Kevin Overmyer brought forward the Winter Preparedness meeting conducted in November and news from the Red Cross. He said the local Red Cross has had major changes.
Avery said the Red Cross is going to be more of a regional concept rather than a local concept. They are facing the same struggles as lots of other organizations in having trouble finding volunteers to commit to helping in an emergency.
Avery explained that one of the issues they wanted to work with the Red Cross on was providing shelter open prior to a major snow event. He said in 2016 Marshall County had a snow emergency that stranded motorists on U.S. 30 and the Indiana National Guard put out their Highway Assistance Teams. They were able to pick up the stranded motorists but most of the hotels were already filled and they didn’t know what to do with them, so they took them to the LaPaz Fire Department.
Being a volunteer station, that is not manned was not a good plan. They weren’t prepared to handle an influx of people needing shelter.
In working with the Red Cross, they made it clear that they can’t help the county out until about 24 hours after the event. Avery said that is too late and a gap in the county’s support function annex. They were listed as the primary coordinating agency and they need to look at how to address this shortfall.