Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

June 25, 2013

Agreement helps with emergency role

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — There was a time when it was fairly easy to step in and volunteer to serve as the person to oversee a small town’s emergency management.

Not so anymore as the time and for some the additional cost it takes to stay up with the times makes it difficult if not impossible for many towns to have their own emergency director.

With that in mind the town of Maysville joined the list of communities signing up to have Bud Ramming, Garvin County’s emergency management director, serve in that very same role for them.

The action came Monday as all three county commissioners gave their approval to Ramming agreeing to serve as the person overseeing Maysville’s official emergency management program.

It’s a job Ramming also does for most towns in Garvin County.

He stresses the importance of communities having someone serving in this capacity.

“All towns have to have emergency management directors or a mutual aid agreement,” Ramming said.

“This is the agreement with Maysville,” he said. “It helps keep them in compliance.”

That compliance is with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and federal agencies like FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security.

“If a disaster happens they could lose out on federally funded money,” Ramming said. “Plus, I’ll represent them during a disaster.

“I do represent all towns in Garvin County except Pauls Valley. Don Wageman has been their emergency management director for some time.”

A problem for many small towns in keeping their own emergency management director on staff is the cost.

Making it even tougher for volunteers to serve in the role is all the ongoing training needed for any person in this position.

In Maysville’s case the mayor had been volunteering to be the director. According to Ramming, that got to be too much as the job requires several hours a year in emergency management training for both small-scale and large scale disasters.

“It’s hard for them to hire a full-time person just for that,” Ramming said, referring to small town.

“That makes more sense for one person to represent all the towns,” he said.

“With all the classes it takes to stay in compliance it makes a lot of sense for these towns to stay away from it and go with a mutual aid agreement.

“Most of it used to be online but now a lot is in the classroom.”