It was announced recently that nearly three dozen Illinois counties are in-line for grants from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
These state emergency grants are being awarded to emergency management offices in 32 counties, many of which are located in downstate Illinois and have lower populations.
Among the 32 offices receiving grants is the Pike County Emergency Management Agency, or PCEMA, which was awarded just under 21-thousand dollars. PCEMA Director Joshua Martin explains some of the things he hopes the grant money will be used for.
“Ideally it is going to supplement what we currently have in the emergency operation center (EOC) in Pike County, but it’s also going to increase and expand our capabilities that we can function. With our instant management team set up the way it is, we currently have nine or ten positions depending on who’s available,” says Martin.
Martin says the grant will help expand positions and thus make operations smoother going forward.
“This grant will expand from those positions, we’re not going to change positions, but obviously the makeup of the EOC is going to expand to the point where we can now accommodate all of those positions that were within that instant management team, which is going to help ensure more adequate and smooth flowing operation period. And obviously there are some smaller things too that we didn’t have, so having some funding available for that, to allow for better planning and operational briefings is going to increase our capabilities,” Martin explains.
Given that the majority of these grants went to smaller, downstate counties, Martin talks about the importance of emergency management agencies in place like west central Illinois.
“Around this part of the state, typically you’re just going to see one (emergency operations center) per county, if they have one at all. And a lot of places may not have a formal EOC but they have a location inside of a building, whether it be a fire house or an ambulance station, a courthouse, sheriff’s office, something like that, they just have a designated area that, in the event of a disaster or large-scale incident, they activate that area and that’s where everyone congregates to provide those operational management tactics,” Martin says.
Also receiving a state emergency grant was Brown County, which received just under 25-thousand dollars, as well as Montgomery County, which got a little over 16-thousand dollars.