August 22, 2010 by wcobserver
West Fork Mayor Jan Throgmorton completed a week’s worth of emergency preparedness classes in late July, making her eligible to manage a command center should a local disaster strike.
Although Throgmorton said this accomplishment is a valuable commodity for any city official, it adds to her list of growing skills.
“My husband, Mike, and I are fire fighters, first responders and chaplains for the fire department,” she said. “When you care about people, you need to be well-prepared to help out.”
Throgmorton took a series of six classes, earned two certificates and amassed almost 40 hours of training the week of July 26. She attended with firefighters and police officers from around the county, and another mayor, Doug Sprouse, of Springdale.
“We were handed different scenarios and had to figure out the best way to prioritize,” she said. “First and foremost is life-preservation.”
Michael “Butch” Bartholomew, city business manager, has also taken the classes. He said after 9/11, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Government focused on potential threats to communities, especially water supplies.
Throgmorton credits Bartholomew’s training with being able to get through the ice storm in 2009.
“That storm was trial by fire,” she said. “Butch’s knowledge helped us act fast.”
Throgmorton said West Fork’s emergency plan involves setting up a centralized location where media and the public can get information from a contact person.
“We have a well-trained city command,” Throgmorton said.
The classes are offered online and in the classroom and are free to officials and the public, she said, but time consuming. Throgmorton said she preferred the classroom setting because she is a visual and verbal learner.
For more information, contact Washington County Emergency Management officials at 479-444-1721 or visit http://www.training.fema.gov/.