Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator speaks at recent Allamakee Democrats meeting

Corey Snitker ...
Corey Snitker ...

Thursday, September 14, the Allamakee County Democrats monthly meeting welcomed Corey Snitker, Emergency Management Coordinator for Allamakee County. Snitker began by talking about the three levels of emergency management, from FEMA at the national level, to the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department, and finally, the Allamakee County Emergency Management Agency. The county agency and its duties and responsibilities are part of the Code of Iowa, Chapter 29C and Iowa Administrative Code, Section 605.

An Emergency Management Commission of eight members within Allamakee County establishes the Emergency Management Agency, and is made up of all six mayors in the county, a representative from the Board of Supervisors, and the County Sheriff. Some of the duties of the Commission are to establish a budget, the agency's mission and hiring of the Coordinator, who then fulfills the duties and responsibilities established for the commission and the agency in Chapter 29C and Section 605.

Snitker’s job as the Emergency Management Coordinator covers a wide range of duties and responsibilities which include hazard analysis (looking at possible man-made, technological and natural disaster events), resource management (procuring and organizing emergency tools, shelter and HAZMAT trailers, etc.), planning for hazard mitigation, making sure there is a command/control system in place, coordinating communication and warning systems, organizing personnel and volunteers, coordinating damage assessments, setting up emergency exercises/training and education for the public.

Snitker says his experience as a former member of the Marine Corps, the Iowa Army National Guard (including a one-year deployment in Afghanistan), and as a Deputy Sheriff has helped to prepare him for the kind of work required to keep Allamakee County residents and property as safe and ready as possible for any number of emergencies.

Wednesday, October 4 at 6:30 p.m., Snitker, along with Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission, will be hosting a meeting in the Waukon City Council chambers to work on the update of the Allamakee Hazard Mitigation Plan. The meeting is open to the public to attend. This plan needs to be updated every five years and includes an analysis determining hazards and possible options on mitigation actions that can be taken to stop or minimize effects to people and property.

Currently, Allamakee County has three main areas for potential hazards/risks; transportation to include railroads, hazardous materials located in various facilities where chemicals are stored to include natural gas pipelines, and the weather (i.e. flash floods, tornadoes, ice storms, etc.).

Funding for the Emergency Management Agency in Allamakee County comes from two primary sources; a Federal Grant and the General Supplemental Fund within Allamakee County. Continued funding is essential to make sure Allamakee County is prepared should an emergency occur. Snitker would like to see the addition of a drone for search and rescue and other emergency/disaster response, and creation of a pet shelter in case of a disaster requiring evacuation, as shelters normally will not allow pets. Pets could then be taken to the shelter to be returned to owners when clean-up and return to homes are possible. He would also like to see more training and education.

Snitker ended his talk by saying he is very impressed by the dedication and professionalism of all the volunteers and employees who provide emergency services to the people of Allamakee County, and that he is happy to be home in the county where he was born and raised.

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