Director Sam Henley here!
I finally have some time to sit down and update you on the whirlwind of activity that has taken place with the EMA and CERT since the last update post!
Synopsis of the previous post on February 8, 2022: LEOP page name updated and the After-Action Report (AAR) from the winter storm Feb. 1-4 posted.
Brace yourselves for this update; it’s a LOT!
During the month of February, we had THREE Emergency Operation Center activations. Due to our renewed partnership with the Camden County Road & Bridge Department, we were able to release continuous information and updates on their behalf to the public so their staff could work nearly non-stop clearing the snow from the three winter storms. We had such a POSITIVE reaction to the updates that we are now releasing joint statements on R&B’s behalf regularly! You can see some different examples of those releases below.
The biggest (AND BEST!) news from February for our office was having Rick Bumarch join us as our Deputy Director! Rick has been one of the hardest working, helpful individuals we’ve had the honor of working with to date! He is willing to learn and motivated to make things better, not only around the office but also out in the community. Just this week, he’s been out distributing resources to schools and libraries (more on that later)! You can read the press release about Rick here.
One of the most important things our office pursues is resources and funding from different sources to provide first responders with items that can be used in large-scale disasters or even on day-to-day operations to make life a little easier on them. In February, the Camden County Commission signed the approved TWO Regional Homeland Security Oversight Committee grants for the Camden County EMA. One of these grants will bring two new dual-band MOSWIN radios to the EMA to increase communications and interoperability with our partners. The second grant will bring two pelican lights to Camden County. The pelican lights are self-contained, battery-operated, LED scene lights about the size of a rolling suitcase. These can be used down in ravines in Camden County where trailer lights or large vehicles just can’t reach! During large-scale disasters, there will be areas with little to no power and these lights can be deployed to Incident Command Posts, shelter areas, or other points of distribution for the public! You can see an example below.
On February 26, the EMA and CERT were honored to assist the Osage Beach Police Department by working as traffic and crowd control for an event to raise money for Special Olympics Missouri; the Lake of the Ozarks Polar Plunge 2022: Freezin’ for a Reason!
This was Deputy Director Rick Bumarch’s first activation for our office and he did a fantastic job! He learned that the EMA and CERT have to be flexible, dedicated, and hardworking when we deploy! More posts and photos can be found on our Facebook page.
March brought a new mass notification system, a meeting with Osage Beach 9-1-1 Dispatch, the Statewide Tornado Drill, Summit Natural Gas Training, EOC Training, the Deputy Director headed out for G288 Local Volunteer and Donations Management training, monthly equipment tests, the Region F WebEOC Fatality Management Drill (exercise), the National Weather Service Ozarks Integrated Warning Team Winter After-Action Report meeting, and the first of TWO NWS Tactical Storm Spotter training classes for first responders, LASS, and ARES.
WOW. Where do I start with that amount of activities, deployments, and activations???
Hyper-Reach is hopefully becoming a household name at this point. They are the NEW mass notification service/system for Camden County. They help us provide emergency, weather, and community alerts and information.
Landlines were brought onboard automatically, but if you want to receive warnings and messages on your cell phones or email, you must OPT-IN for the service.
It is free to the public!
By signing up, YOU control which alerts you receive and HOW you receive them!
If you need ANY assistance, please feel free to call our office for guidance (573-346-7108). We even recorded a video and posted it to Facebook and our webpage!
Thanks to our deployment for the Polar Plunge, we were able to schedule a meeting with their 9-1-1 Dispatch and provide them with posters on how and when to activate the Camden County Emergency Operations Center to post around the call center! We also have these posters for the Camden County Central 9-1-1 Dispatch office! These guidelines are also posted in the Local Emergency Operations Plan for public perusal.
With the number of exercises and training we take part in, we are already constantly testing the EOC Activation List in Hyper-Reach. This month’s use includes the Statewide Tornado Drill and the Region F WebEOC Fatality Management Drill (exercise). We are extremely pleased to report nearly perfect responses from all parties on the list! The list includes our partners in first responder agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations, state-level agencies, healthcare services, AND MORE! This kind of collaboration, support, and interoperability behind the scenes is absolutely vital in the event that our county is hit by a large-scale disaster.
Thank you so much to everyone who takes a moment to acknowledge our EOC activations/demobilizations.
We were fortunate to have Summit Natural Gas at our office to provide updated training to our CERT members, fire departments, public works, Road & Bridge, and others. We were disappointed they didn’t bring the hands-on practice model, but they promised to return to teach another class for Camden County and BRING THEIR TOYS! We really can’t say enough for our partners in the private industry and just how much of their time they donate to bring us this lifesaving training!
We’ll round out this update with our activities and partnership with the National Weather Service. Camden County falls in the area of the NWS Springfield (MO) office and we are about as interactive with them as we can possibly be without colocating! From taking part in their Winter Weather After-Action Reports to working with them to schedule VITAL Tactical Storm Spotter training classes for first responders, LASS, and ARES, and even coordinating with them and the Ozarks Amphitheater for being “Event Ready” during events, we take the weather and how it affects our residents and visitors VERY SERIOUSLY. If you ask any first responder if it’s easier to do a search-and-rescue on a dry, 70-degree day or during a downpour on a 50-degree day, then you will hands-down receive a resounding, “THE FIRST OPTION” from every last one of them! Sometimes, we don’t realize how the weather affects everything we do…until it does.
We want to thank the staff at the NWS Springfield office for continuing to juggle their schedules to fit Camden County in for training, information, and event coverage!
Finally, just this week, Deputy Director Rick Bumarch has started reaching out to schools and libraries in the county to distribute hand sanitizer wipes. We have found these are a much better option than containers of gel or liquid hand sanitizer, especially for classrooms and groups of younger children! These efforts have even led to scheduling an emergency preparedness program for the groups at the library which will take place on April 29 at 1:30 pm at the Camdenton branch of the Camden County Library District. We hope to put on at least one of these programs at each branch throughout the year!