By: Lydia Crawley
The Parsons Advocate
Office of Emergency Management Director Kevin White updated the Tucker County Commission on the department’s latest developments which included a recent meeting with the USDA Forest Service.
White said his department met with the USDA Forest Service recently, as well. “We did have a quad county meeting with the USDA Forest Service. We have those about two times a year. We had this one at Canaan Valley two weeks ago, I think it was. They kind of get us all together and give us updates on what is going on in the forest. Since we are 70% forest owned, it’s important to Tucker County. They give us updates on Dolly Sods, on Otter Creek, on Douglas Falls area, things like that.”
White said he appreciated the job the Forest Service has been doing in recent years. “I will tip my hat to the Forest Service. Over the last seven, eight years, they have really upped their game with providing us information and letting us know what’s going on and working with us. Even providing fire crews now.”
White told the Commission what the Fire Departments relationship used to be with the Forest Service. “Used to, really the fire departments, they signed the agreement that they would fight fires on their property,” White said. “You would never see them. It would just be you out there. Now they actually have Fire Crews, they have Engine Crews here, everything. They keep engines either at Elkins or Petersburg and they keep people manning them. They’ve stepped their game up a lot in recent years.”
White commended the local ranger for his efforts. “They got a guy running the program now, John Morgan, he’s our ranger here,” White said. “He’s done a really good job. He’s doing a great job. His communication with local Emergency Services has really been appreciated. He keeps us up to date on everything.”
“The thing I really want to say, Kevin, “County Commissioner Mike Rosenau said, “he’s reaching out, but so is our local people. As you put it, it’s a good team.”
White said representatives from several county departments attended the meeting. “We have participants from all fire departments, EMS, 911, Emergency Management. We all met with him along with other counties. We usually bring a representative from every one of our programs. Law Enforcement included.” According to White other counties that attended only brought one representative for the whole county.
White also informed the Commission of his department’s contribution during the Mountaineer Days Festival over the July 4th weekend. “Probably some of the more important stuff we did,” White said, “is we provided a lot of information for the Mountaineer Days Festival, whether it was weather forecasts up to the minute. We got from the West Virginia Fusion Center we got security reports for all law enforcement and sent that to them. If there was any possibility of an incident that could happen and they’ll provide those for any large gathering – something like a fair, festival, things like that. They’ll go back in and go run the numbers and they’ll find, use analytics to find out if there is a possibility of something happening at your event. So we provided those to all law enforcement.”