EMA officials plan meetings with D.C. leaders
by Paisley Boston
Jan 09, 2014 | 1778 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bolivar County Emergency Management Director Bill Quinton and other EMA directors throughout the state are preparing to meet with congressmen in Washington, D.C., in March.

According to Quinton, the purpose of the visit is to voice the needs of citizens throughout the state concerning emergency management and funding.

"A group from Mississippi Civil Defense Emergency Management Association takes the concerns of EMA personnel throughout the state of Mississippi to Washington to discuss various programs that affect EMA Directors," said Quinton.

"We feel that it is important for our state representatives to know that we are here and that we strive to aid our citizens during emergency situations. We will meet with Sen. Thad Cochran, Sen. Roger Wicker and Rep. Alan Nunnelee, Bennie Thompson, Gregg Harper and Steven Palazzo," he added.

The purpose of Mississippi Civil Defense Emergency Management Association is to advance and improve the profession of emergency management through education, increased public awareness, and professional development in the state; to promote the interchange of programs, ideas and best practices in the profession in the state; and, to create and promote a feeling of fellowship and understanding among and between county governments, municipal governments, state government and the emergency managers/civil defense directors and staff in each of the aforementioned governments and the citizens they represent. 

The association is composed of members who make up the professional emergency management community of Mississippi, including state, county, municipal and tribal emergency management and public safety staff, as well as supporting organizations who play a crucial role in emergency management in our state. 

"I feel that it is very important to present the ideas and needs of the citizens in Mississippi because sometimes our needs are left unmet or not heard at all," said Quinton.

According to Quinton, after EMA directors present various ideas and concerns, members of congress then offer solutions and pose various questions about the represented counties.

"They render information to us based on our concerns and they also let us know whether or not our needs can or will be met," he added.

According to Quinton, last year members of congress decided to cut the Emergency Management Performance Grant Program by about $5 million but members of the association spoke up and out about the matter — congress rescinded the decision.

The Emergency Management Performance Grant is used to sustain and improve comprehensive emergency management programs at the state, tribal and local levels from all man-made and natural disasters through the prevention, mitigation, response and recovery of all hazardous events.

"I am not saying that we were the reason that congress made the decision not to cut the funding but I would definitely like to think so. The huge cut would have definitely devastated small counties like Bolivar County because smaller counties desperately need the money to assist with various programs," said Quinton.

"Our goal is to provide and promote the well being of our citizens and to help them make safety conscious decisions," he added.

The members of the association are to meet with congressmen in March, over a three-day period.

An exact date has not been set yet.