MOUNT VERNON — The Knox County Emergency Management Agency Executive Board unanimously voted to renew the employment of EMA Director Marie Blubaugh and Deputy Director Brian Hess during its board meeting Thursday afternoon.
A 3 percent pay increase for both Blubaugh and Hess were both initiated and approved by the group. Board members said they felt the raise was in line with other county and township pay increases which have recently been approved.
The board was updated on several EMA operations by Blubaugh and Hess including the status of Federal Emergency Management Agency money which should reimburse local agencies and municipalities for some of the money spent during September’s windstorm cleanup.
Blubaugh said the latest figures provided to her by FEMA show over $404,000 in claims is being considered by the federal government. That number is expected to go up. Claims which are approved could result in a reimbursement of up to 75 percent of the money that was spent on the storm recovery.
Board member Allen Stockberger said he and the other county commissioners have decided to keep the Knox County compost area open through Sunday to allow for the disposal of tree material damaged in this week’s windstorm. “That gives folks the weekend to clean up,” Stockberger explained.
Blubaugh told the board 26 of the 36 people who registered completed an EMA training regarding the operations of the Emergency Operations Center which opens during a county emergency.
The director said the participants’ evaluations of the course had been extremely positive. She said she believed those who completed the training now have a better understanding of how the EOC operates.
Blubaugh told the board the Knox County EMA responded to an oil spill on Ohio 3 recently, along with the Ohio EMA, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the College Township Fire Department.
The spill into a creek was the result of an overflowing tank battery. Blubaugh said the pumper did an excellent job of cleaning up the spill quickly and the EPA had been satisfied with the cleanup.
Hess told the board he is currently working with local agencies to revise the emergency plan for the Knox County Fairgrounds. He said he would like to see a detailed plan put into place which would cover such things as a procedure to evacuate the fairgrounds during an emergency.
According to Hess, the county’s Mitigation Plan and Emergency Operations Plan are being revised.
Blubaugh told the group the EMA had participated in last year’s Knox County Health Department Pandemic Flu Exercise. She said the health department had received high praise from a Center for Disease Control representative who evaluated the exercise.
Hess and Blubaugh participated in recent mock lockdowns at the Mount Vernon City Schools which prepare students and staff to stay safe during an attack on a school. “The Mount Vernon City Schools did an excellent job with the lockdowns,” Blubaugh complimented.
Board members were updated on the status of the county Enhanced 9-1-1 Plan which was recently revised and approved by the Knox County 9-1-1 Technical Advisory Committee. The plan was reviewed by the 9-1-1 Plan Committee earlier Thursday afternoon. It is set for public hearing on March 16 at 1:30 p.m. at the Knox County Service Center Chapel.
Board member Richard Mavis moved to take the board into executive session to discuss personnel matters before adjourning.