Sandy Mackey will assume the role of deputy director of the Delaware County Emergency Management Agency on or after Jan. 20, 2018.
“The position of deputy director has been unfilled since 2013,” said Sean Miller, EMA director. “Some of the thought processes behind it is if things were truly bad and I was not around it would be pretty much understood, by Ohio Emergency Management as well as local partners, that the deputy director assumes the leadership role in the absence of the director without all the paperwork.”
Miller said to summarize what EMA does is to the minimize impact of and prepare for day-to-day emergencies and disasters.
“I would say one of the best traits an emergency manager can have is flexibility and the ability to think on their feet,” he said. “I think Sandy has those traits and because of her training and experience she’ll do a fine job for Delaware County.”
Mackey said she’s been with the Delaware County EMA five years and currently serves as administrative manager. She is no stranger to being in charge of the agency during a countywide emergency.
“I was acting director back in 2016 when we had the tornado romp through here,” she said. “The board and everybody was checking in, making sure everything was all right and seeing if I needed anything.”
The tornado occurred during the 2016 Ironman while Miller was on five weeks of paternity leave.
In preparing for her new position, Mackey has been updating her professional development plan by taking courses in emergency management.
“I’ve been doing the OCEM to become an Ohio Certified Emergency Manager,” she said. “There’s always learning going on; it’s a continual thing.”
The certification is through the Emergency Management Association of Ohio. In order to be certified, applicants must meet a specific combination of work experience, professional education, and training. Applicants must also receive a letter of reference, contribute to the field of emergency management, and be published.
“I’ve got many hours under my belt in courses that Ohio Emergency Management and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) both offer,” she said. “I was published in the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) a few years back.”
Miller said the OCEM certification is a stepping stone to the International Association of Emergency Management certification, which covers all types of emergencies and disasters nationwide.
Mackey said she has conducted 200 to 300 hours of work on certifications and this year alone she has logged 100 or more hours.
“I’m currently enrolled in FEMA’s Basic Academy,” she said. “It’s usually held in Maryland, but Ohio was able to snatch it. I’ve taken the first 80 hours and there are still more modules to go.”
Mackey said the courses don’t just teach disaster knowledge, but also the managerial side of emergency management.
“It talks about grants, planning, and mitigation,” she said. “Grants help fund the office and planning touches everything we do.”
Mackey said mitigation is the one thing the courses focus on heavily.
“Mitigation helps prepare people, it helps to keep things from happening, and there are different ways you can go about it,” she said. “It’s just little things like reminding people to trim the trees around their house. It’s encouraging people to come to talk about things they can do to prevent problems.”
Miller said by having Mackey move up to deputy director allows him the opportunity to focus on other projects.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.