White County now has an EMA Director, answering the need to better coordinate when disaster strikes.
County Executive Denny Wayne Robinson said this year’s ice storm was an example of why the county needed someone in the position. Robinson said there are people who want to help in an emergency but leadership is needed.
“You don’t need six groups going and ending up on the same road,” Robinson said. “You need to spread the resources out and where they need to go, just somebody needs to be there to coordinate all this stuff and know who to call. Have basically a whiteboard up there with who’s doing what and who’s doing it where.”
Robinson said this role has a level of importance outside of county government, emphasizing the need to have a director who is connected with church groups and volunteer organizations. Robinson said during the ice storm, an open shelter needed a nurse but because multiple people put in calls, eight to ten nurses showed up at the same location.
“Organization is the key to getting the help and assistance to the spot where you need it,” Robinson said. “You can never plan enough or train enough to reach that level of proficiency because it is a moving target.”
He said the position will help on two fronts, it creates a vocal leader for the emergency services. However, Robinson said with it now being a paid position, it adds a level of accountability.
“With a volunteer, it is hard to holler at someone who is volunteering,” Robinson said. “Now the county commission can say, ‘we expect this return on our investment, we expect our citizens to be safer, we expect a plan.”
Sparta Firefighter Matt McBride was appointed as the part-time EMA Director on Monday night. McBride started in emergency services as a Sparta Junior Firefighter in 1995.