Emergency Management

Welcome to Effingham County EMA

Emergency Management as defined by the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM):
Emergency Management is the managerial function charged with creating the framework within which communities reduce vulnerability to threats/Hazards and cope with disasters.

There are many threats and hazards to the communities within Effingham County. Tornados, flooding, severe winter storms and hazardous materials accidents are only a few of the possible dangers. The potential for disaster is ever present. A disaster, even on a small scale, would have a significant impact on our families, communities, businesses, environment and government functions.

Success in coping with disaster depends largely on how well prepared, organized and coordinated we are as individuals, communities, and as a County. Emergency Management is about studying worst case scenarios of the possible disasters that could occur in our County, evaluating our County’s response and recovery capabilities and finding ways we can improve our level of preparedness.

All of the emergency response agencies who serve our County have their own specialized, trained, and practiced roles and responsibilities in response to emergency situations. One of my responsibilities as an Emergency Manager is to find ways for all of those partners in emergency preparedness and response to plan, train, and work together in order to find gaps in our emergency planning and improve our coordination to respond effectively together to any major emergency or disaster in our County.

As the Emergency Manager for Effingham County, my goal is to continually work toward creating the unity of effort between government, members of the community, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector in our efforts of prevention, protection, mitigation, response to and recovery from disaster.

Pamela Jacobs,
Emergency Manager – Effingham County EMA

The origin of Effingham County EMA dates back to the Cold War era and was established in 1951. Then titled Civil Defense, the agency was led by the administration of F.R Hutchings from 1951 through 1967 followed by Clayton Slifer from 1967 through 1970 and Daniel Field from 1970 through 1981. The name of agency was eventually changed to the Emergency Services & Disaster Agency and placed under the leadership of Kenneth Fisher from 1981 through 1997 at which time leadership for the agency was assigned to Russell Thomas. Shortly thereafter the name of the agency was changed to the Emergency Management Agency as it remains today. Russell Thomas was the emergency manager for Effingham County from 1997 until he retired in 2013.

The Effingham County EMA operates within the Effingham County Emergency Operations Center located at 311 Miracle Avenue in Effingham IL.  Our agency has direct responsibility for maintaining readiness of the Emergency Operations Center, as well as maintenance and update of the County’s Emergency Operations Plan.  The Emergency Operations Center serves the County in times of disaster, and throughout the year as well.  The Emergency Operations Center is an excellent training facility which host numerous hours of emergency preparedness and response related trainings and meetings each month.

There are many responsibilities that will need to be accomplished during a disaster in Effingham County and an effective response requires trained volunteers.  With the limited staff of EMA, volunteers are an incredibly valuable asset to our County and there are many way to be of service.