Government News

Office of Emergency Services Update

Press Release
June 6, 2024

For Release: Immediately
Confirmation: W. Brooke Harris, Chairman
Office Phone: 585-268-9222

 Office of Emergency Services

The Allegany County Board of Legislators has prioritized strengthening the Office of Emergency Services and has taken several strides toward that goal.  Currently, the Board is working on two major developments.  The first involves creating and filling the full-time position of Fire Coordinator to place an equal emphasis on the Fire Service as has recently been placed on EMS.  Carissa Knapp, County Administrator, is currently in the process of hiring for the position of Fire Coordinator.  The title is competitive, and the position must be filled from the existing list of candidates established by our local Civil Service Office.  Interviews of eligible candidates have occurred over the past few months, and it is expected that a hiring decision will be announced soon.

The role of Fire Coordinator is an important administrative position responsible for planning and supervising the County programs of fire training and mutual aid to cope with fires and other public emergencies requiring the services of firefighters. Allegany County’s Fire Mutual Aid Plan allows the Fire Coordinator to appoint multiple District Fire Coordinators to aid in carrying out the role of the Fire Coordinator. For many years, Allegany County has used six (6) District Fire Coordinators, most of whom have served in that role for a decade or more.  In the event of a vacancy in the title of Fire Coordinator, the Mutual Aid Plan states that the Deputy Fire Coordinator will possess the power and perform the duties of Fire Coordinator until the vacancy is filled.  Allegany County appreciates the efforts of our Deputy Fire Coordinator and our other five District Coordinators for their long-standing service, and especially efforts required while the County experienced a temporary vacancy in the Fire Coordinator title.  Allegany County also appreciates the Fire Advisory Board and thanks them for their continued guidance and support.

The second major priority is the restructuring of the Office of Emergency Services a development that will better meet countywide emergency management needs.  This will include writing a Local Law that redefines the powers and responsibilities of the office, clarifies the role of the Director of the Office and the organizational chain of command, and establishes a team-oriented approach to meet emergency management needs.  It is hoped this realignment will ensure that in the future, the County’s emergency plans are up-to-date, local officials and essential workers are trained in their roles, and plans are publicized so that we will all be better prepared in the future.

While the Board of Legislators develops the Local Law that realigns the office, Bonnie VanHousen, EMS Coordinator for Allegany County, will temporarily take on the additional responsibilities and role of Director of Emergency Services.  It is hoped that advertisement to permanently fill the Director title will take place later this year after the Local Law is finalized.

The Fire and EMS communities will continue to operate under the established Mutual Aid Plans and should expect updates through regular lines of communication and direct communication from Bonnie VanHousen. The process to re-organize the Office of Emergency Services will require action by local law process and will include public meetings and a formal public hearing prior to its adoption.



Read PDF Version Here
Read Word DOCX Version Here