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Hgtn. County EMA shares 2021 report

The Huntington County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) has released information regarding the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) County Readiness Assessment for 2021. Each year, the Huntington County EMA is evaluated with this assessment, which runs Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. Each assessment is due by the end of the calendar year and is handled by a district liaison.

EMA Director Robert Jeffers compiled information regarding the different categories of assessments that Huntington County was evaluated on. All categories included a county specific project as a topic. Other topics included the following:

EnhancedCommunity Safety /Vigilance throughout the County (7 of 7)
• Cybersecurity.
• School Safety.
• Hazard Mitigation Plan.
• Public-Private Sector.
• Long Term Recovery.
• Special Event Planning.
Strengthen Emergency Response throughout the County (8 of 8)
• NIMS Compliance.
• Local, District and State Collaboration.
• Damage Assessment.
• Debris Management Plan.
• Logistics.
Improve Administration and Operational Efficiency and Effectiveness (8 of 9)
• Grants Management.
• Emergency Management Advisory Board.
• County Emergency Management Ordinance.
• After Actions Report.
• Strategic Plan.
• COOP-COG for County Agency.
• Budgeting.  
• EMA Employee Status.
Streamline Communications within and out of County Jurisdiction (5 of 5)
• WebEOC.
• Monthly Communications Test.
• Information Sharing.
• Emergency Operations Center.
Intensify Training and Professional Development for Public Safety Partners (5 of 7)
• County based training, planning and exercise workshop.
• Training.
• County based training.
• Exercise.
• Certification.
• Conferences or workshops.
Enhanced Public Outreach and Education (4 of 4)
• EMA Volunteer Programs.
• Public Information Officer.
• Public Outreach Engagement.

Each of the standards listed had a minimum number of categories required to be considered “passing.” Meaning, for the majority of the county readiness standards, Huntington County went above and beyond the standards to pass a section because each standard in a section was complete.

The two categories which did not have each topic complete were “Improve Administration and Operational Efficiency and Effectiveness” and “Intensify Training and Professional Development for Public Safety Partners.” For the first, Huntington County scored an eight of nine, but only four standards were needed in order to pass the section. For the second, Huntington County scored a five of seven, but only three standards were needed to pass the section.

According to Jeffers, meeting the passing score of 20 means that the Huntington County EMA is eligible for the States Salary Reimbursement Grant.

This grant brings in half of the county’s wages for two full-time employees. That grant money is then deposited into the County General Fund.
Each category and category topic allows for comments to be made throughout the year. For instance, in the “School safety” topic area, notes were made on March 19, 2021, and again on Nov. 15, 2021, regarding the status of School Safety meetings. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, School Safety meetings have been suspended, but EMA hopes to pick these meetings back up once the COVID-19 response slows down. Jeffers explained that credit “may have been given” because EMA is on the committee.

Updates of things like grant work are also detailed in the report. For instance, this year the EMA worked to get an additional 51 radios for the county, and reported on Nov. 15, 2021, that they had received an award letter of $230,000.31 for the 51 radios, and that an additional $40,000 was awarded for EMA EOC Dispatch Console. According to Jeffers, the amount of $230,000.31 was the maximum amount that could be applied for.