The duties of a local Emergency Management Director are numerous and varied. Upon appointment by the locally elected governing body, that person becomes the Town official charged with coordination of emergency preparedness. Authority and execution of responsibilities are only as effective as the interest, support, and supervision given by the appointing authority.
Emergency Management is not just about responding to and managing a disaster. In fact, Emergency Management starts long before a disaster even occurs with mitigation and preparedness.
Starting with World War II, emergency management focused primarily on preparedness. But being prepared is only one of four phases of comprehensive emergency management. A community also has many opportunities to deal with emergencies before they strike and a responsibility to aid in recover after a disaster. The four phases are:
- 1. Mitigation
- 2. Preparedness
- 3. Response
- 4. Recovery
In Bennington, we are fortunate to have two qualified individuals who are ready, willing, and able to serve the residents of Bennington during an emergency: Keith Nason, Emergency Management Director and Kristie LaPlante, Assistant Emergency Management Director.
Working together, Keith and Kristie have provided behind the scenes protection to our residents during frequent flood events, the December 2008 ice storm, and the February 2010 windstorm. In addition to mitigating hazards, Keith and Kristie participate in trainings, participate in phone conferences with key State Emergency Management Officials prior to emergencies, work diligently to seek reimbursement of costs attributed to major events, and develop grant applications to acquire equipment to increase our preparedness for future emergencies.
Duties of our Emergency Management staff include (but are not limited to):
- Coordinate, plan, organize, and carry out our local Emergency Management activities;
- Coordinate the development, maintenance, and annual review of our local Emergency Operations Plan and other plans, as required;
- Coordinate the use of resources, equipment, and manpower available within the community;
- Coordinate public information programs to keep all residents of the community informed about Emergency Management activities;
- Establish, maintain, and run the Emergency Operations Center during times of emergency;
- Attend Emergency Management training courses and workshops;
- Keep the Board of Selectmen and State Emergency Management representatives fully informed of all Emergency Management matters;
- Act as the community representative in deadline with other governmental and private organizations;
- During emergencies – coordinate community resources, report activities and conditions to the State Emergency Operations Center, and request assistance as needed;
- Coordinate damage assessment activities and promptly report all damage assessment reports to the State.