June 16, 2024

Whole Community News

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Welcome to Eugene’s new emergency manager, Carrie Karl

5 min read
New City of Eugene Emergency Manager Carrie Karl discussed neighborhood preparedness with CERT leader Andy Davis.

New City of Eugene Emergency Manager Carrie Karl discussed neighborhood preparedness with CERT leader Andy Davis.

Meet Carrie Karl, the City’s new Emergency Manager.

[00:00:03] Carrie Karl: I’m Carrie Karl and I have been working with the City of Eugene for just over 10 years. Previous to Emergency Management, I worked in Public Works with Parks and Open Space, primarily managing and coordinating projects with the community. In Public Works, I was also given the opportunity to support response operations for a number of our wind, snow, and ice events here in Eugene, and I also helped to improve those operation processes.

And then in July of 2019, actually I moved into Emergency Management full time, as an analyst initially, working on preparedness planning and response. You know, I’ve transitioned recently into this Emergency Manager role. So I’m still learning. There is going to be a lot to learn, I think, moving forward, myself along with my Emergency Management team, City staff, community organizations and of course the Community Emergency Response Team volunteers, we work to help build a culture of preparedness in our community.

[00:00:58] It’s really, our focus is preparedness planning activities, to prevent, protect, mitigate, respond to and recover from disasters. The Community Emergency Response Team really trains citizens to be prepared, to respond to emergency situations within their communities. Trained CERT members are able to give critical support first responders. They provide immediate assistance to victims and survivors. And they organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site. They’re also involved in many non-emergency projects that improve the safety of our community. And I’ll turn it over to Andy to talk a little bit more in depth about CERT.

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[00:01:33] CERT Chair Andy Davis: Okay, thank you, Carrie.

[00:01:35] Many of the CERTs did voice their complaints about, there wasn’t anything really happening. They felt as though they went through the course and then that was it. And of course, when people step up and they give of their time and their effort of their life to go and take this 60-hour course training through CERT, they want to give of themselves to help, and that was not taking place.

[00:01:59] So we heard their comments. We, the CERT program, partnered with the Eugene Water and Electric Board EWEB, and they are still in the process of implementing emergency wells around Eugene. And we will staff those wells with CERTs that have completed the CERT basic training. And then we’ve also required the Points of Distribution course, which is IS-26, and then Traffic and Crowd Management, and then also the FEMA course dealing with Emergency Communications. And so we feel that those will be great tools for the CERTs that will staff those emergency well teams that are around the town.

[00:02:43] So our goal now is to say, ‘Now we’ve got something—join us, team. Take these courses and step up and put your name as being a member of a well team for Howard Elementary School or Prairie Mountain or the well at Sheldon or the well at Lane County Fairgrounds.’ So, hopefully we can draw from each of the districts, have a well team for the wells that are in their district.

[00:03:12] We had our first Eugene city-wide emergency communication exercise, and this is a new initiative that we’ve just recently started. And it is basically with volunteers of ham radio operators within the City of Eugene, we have set up a emergency communication network with each of the city districts. So we tried that and it went very well, for the first time. It was a learning exercise and we have some things that we need to work on.

[00:03:44] There is also a webpage that people can also take a look at for the emergency communication. And that’s EugeneEMCOMM.org. And it has a lot of information about what the hams have been doing and just tons of information dealing with emergency communications.

[00:04:04] The other thing is we plan to have next month a state of the program address to all CERTs, on the 14th of December, and we will address some new initiatives that we want to present to the CERTs in the Eugene Springfield area.

[00:04:21] We have partnered with the University of Utah for online education where everyone is interested, they can take the online community emergency response team course through them. It goes through nine of the units. You do it at your own pace and once you complete it, you get a completion certificate and then you can stop there if that’s all you want just for yourself and your family, or if you want to continue on, then you would come to us when we’re able to do hands on training and you’ll take a additional 16 hours at the Eugene Fire Training Center on Second and Chambers.

[00:04:58] Carrie Karl: We’re looking at spring of 2022. So probably March 29th, 31st and April 2nd, 2022. Those are our tentative dates for this hands-on portion.

[00:05:10] Ultimately preparedness begins at home. When your worst day is here we’ll need to look to our neighbors and our community members to really help because first responders are going to be overwhelmed. And the more we can do now to be two weeks ready, the better. And I realize it’s not an easy task. It takes time. It takes money, space. But I think taking stock of what resources you already have can be really, really important as that first step to reduce some of that daunting feel of moving forward with this work and then take off small bites. Whatever that might look like, look at what you need, think about your neighbors in your planning, and then work with your family to build that plan. And that’s really going to strengthen our community and make us more resilient when these incidents happen and we’ll respond to, and we’ll recover better.

[00:05:59] John Q: Congratulations to Carrie Karl, the City’s new emergency manager.

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