The “100 Counties Prepared Task Force,” which was formed by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC), held a meeting on Wednesday, April 6, that included county leaders from across the state.
The task force was established to “develop a training plan to educate county commissioners on key aspects of emergency management and crisis leadership.”
While emergency and crisis management needs in the past have been few and far between for local governments like Guilford County – and many other counties across North Carolina – the pandemic, along with numerous severe weather incidents in recent years have shown that county commissioners and other county officials need some solid training in emergency response.
These days, even the possibility of a nuclear attack has become a renewed discussion at the local government level.
The coming preparedness training from the task force will be meant to equip county commissioners with the “tools, partnerships, and emergency management best practices needed to lead North Carolina citizens effectively during emergency situations.”
The Wednesday, April 6 meeting of the 100 Counties Prepared Task Force focused on the need for county commissioners to cultivate relationships with community partners before an emergency occurs.
The group heard from Kevin Monroe, the director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the Office of the Governor and from John Ford, the FEMA director for the National Integration Center.
The task force also heard from representatives of the Red Cross, who spoke on the importance of having good working relationships with local and elected officials, as well as on how to establish needed community partnerships before emergencies occur.
NCACC President Frank Williams launched the 100 Counties Prepared Task Force last year, based on the experiences he had with natural disasters while serving as the Chairman of the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners during Hurricanes Florence, Dorian and Isaias. Brunswick County is just south of Wilmington and includes both Baldhead Island and Oak Island.
The new initiative has an official stated goal of getting county commissioners “to provide North Carolina residents with accurate and authoritative information about critical local response and recovery activities due to emergencies such as mudslides, earthquakes, tornados, floods, hurricanes and pandemics.”
“The time to build relationships with key partners is before an emergency happens, not once it is already underway,” Williams said after the meeting. “This meeting focused on identifying the critical relationships county commissioners should develop and outlining how they can effectively build those relationships before an emergency affects their county.”
The task force will continue to meet to build a training curriculum designed for county commissioners with an aim “to empower all county leaders across the state with the tools and information necessary to guide their communities through emergencies.”
For more information about the 100 Counties Prepared initiative, you can visit www.100countiesprepared.com.