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EMA on the watch around the clock

Johnson County EMA Operations Manager Mike Sumner, left, and EMA Director Jason Blevins work cohesively to create emergency management plans to assist all Johnson County first responders. Photo by Karla Prudhomme

By Karla Prudhomme
Freelance Writer

Johnson County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) works tirelessly, effectively, and quietly behind the scenes preparing for the next disaster, hazard, or emergency. Within the field of Emergency Management, there is a saying that, “All disasters are local,” as the initial response to any disaster, no matter the scope or severity, falls to local officials and responders.

Regarding this fact, we here in Johnson County are fortunate to have such a dedicated and well-prepared staff leading our local Emergency Management Agency. EMA Director Jason Blevins and Operations Officer Michael Sumner work cohesively to create emergency management plans. Through pre-planning and coordination with local, state, and federal agencies and partners, EMA can better mitigate adverse outcomes when disaster strikes.

Such preparedness was well-demonstrated during the recent flooding in the Neva and Trade, as Johnson County Emergency Management worked together with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Mountain Electric, the Johnson County Highway Department, and the Red Cross to respond to the disaster. Johnson County EMA also relayed ongoing information to TEMA (Tennessee Emergency Management Agency), which resulted in the Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief Team responding to our local needs and assisting numerous residents with personal property damage issues.

In the last year alone, Johnson County EMA has worked two (2) other flooding events, assisted the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office with three (3) searches of missing persons, assisted the Johnson County Health Department in the set-up and staffing of our local COVID-19 vaccination site, and assisted Hawkins County in the highly publicized search for missing 5-year-old, Summer Wells.

Both Jason and Mike are aware that another emergency could occur at any time and will continue to push us to prepare our local community in advance- incorporating careful planning, communication, and multi-agency cooperation. Through continued practice of local response plans, the Johnson County Emergency Management Agency and local officials will better respond, assist, and coordinate the next local emergency, hazard, or disaster.

For additional information about Emergency Management, contact Eden Matheson Corum at the Johnson County Health Department, Johnson County Mayor Mike Taylor, or Johnson County Sheriff Eddie Tester.

See more First Responders stories in the print version of The Tomahawk.