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Iowa celebrates 50 years of emergency management

10 federal disasters have occurred in Emmet County during time span

November 26, 2012
Estherville Daily News

Governor Terry Branstad has declared the week of Nov. 26-30 as Iowa Emergency Management Week in commemoration of 50 years of service to the state of Iowa and its citizens.

For 50 years Iowa Emergency Management Coordinators have been responding to disasters and emergencies in Iowa.

In years past you may have remembered it called by a different name such as Civil Defense, Disaster Services, Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

Although the technology and names have changed the mission stays the same and that is to save lives and protect property. This has been accomplished by developing programs and partnerships that help each Iowa county prepare for, respond to and recover from any emergency or disaster.

Iowa has had 48 federally declared disasters and emergencies, 32 of which have occurred since 1990.

According to Emmet County Emergency Management Director Terry Reekers, 10 federal disasters have been declared in the county since 1962-seven of which have occurred since 1990.

Some of the more memorable disasters include floods of 1965, 1969, and 1993, major ice storm of 1991 and several major winter storms that hit our county in 2007, and twice in February and March of 2010.

In each case Emmet County, through its Emergency Management Agency, received thousands of dollars to help storm victims, for property acquisition in the flood planes, for hazard mitigation projects and overtime pay reimbursement.

Many times Emergency Management is in the background assisting other agencies such as law enforcement, EMS, public health, schools, nursing homes and local businesses.

Between disasters and emergencies, Emmet County Emergency Management stays busy with many training and educational opportunities.

Since being appointed Emergency Management Coordinator in 1989, Terry Reekers has had 142 different speaking and training opportunities and coordinated and participated in 70 disaster drills and exercises with many different departments and businesses.

Emmet County is very fortunate to have the cooperation and support from the Emergency Management Commission. The members of the commission are the mayors from each community, one member of the Board of Supervisors and the Emmet County Sheriff. The coordinator serves at the pleasure of the commission and it is an appointed position.

Over the years there have been several persons who have held this position. It is appropriate to mention their names and thank them for there service to Emmet County also.

"These are the ones that I have been made aware of," said Reekers. "If there are others I apologize and would appreciate knowing who they are so they can be properly recognized also."

Oral Young was appointed in the early 1960s. He was also a deputy sheriff at the time. Hugh Grieg followed him for a few years as a part-time coordinator.

Al Conlee came next in the 1970s. James Wiant took over next and was coordinator until he passed away in the late 1980s.

Reekers has been coordinator since December of 1989.

"Thank you to all who have supported your local Emergency Management program," said Reekers.

If you would like to contact the local Emergency Management agency to comment please call 712-362-5702 or email at ematerf5@yourstarnet.net.

 
 
 

 

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