The Genesee County Office of Emergency Management Services distributed more than 100,000 masks and nearly 22,000 2-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer through June 30 in its efforts to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.
In a departmental review presented to the Genesee County Legislature’s Public Service Committee today, EMS Coordinator Tim Yaeger (pictured above) reported that his office assisted about 250 agencies, “which then touched about another 100 agencies" from March 16 through June 30.
Yaeger said supplies went to first responders, churches, for-profit agencies, nonprofit agencies, and other organizations as it was “tasked upon us” during what he called a “difficult time.”
According to his report, the Personal Protective Equipment supply distribution was as follows:
- N95 masks -- 8,412;
- Surgical masks -- 66,636;
- Cloth masks -- 48,354;
- Gloves -- 65,300;
- Hand Sanitizer (gallons) -- 605;
- Hand Sanitizer (2 oz.) -- 21,996;
- Thermometers -- 150;
- Gowns/Tyvek Suits -- 1,275.
His report also indicated that the Emergency Operation Center, activated in response to COVID-19, was staffed on Monday through Friday, monitored on the weekend and manned by the department’s full-time staff with assistance from deputy fire coordinators and county fire instructors.
Hours of operation started at 12 per day before being reduced to nine per day during the final month.
He credited his employees, (Deputy Coordinator) Bill Schutt, Gary Patnode and Jeanette Diehl, for pulling together as a team, and noted that first responders in the community were understanding, “very, very cooperative, and everybody got through this.”
Yaeger reported that staffing of volunteer fire and emergency management services personnel throughout the nation, including Genesee County, is at a “critical level making it many times unlikely to provide the manpower necessary to respond to emergency situations.”
With that in mind, he said that a Volunteer Services Task Force at the county level has been established to address this issue. Several meetings have taken place to look at viable solutions and funding avenues.
He believes that the best option for emergency services is a “hybrid; volunteer/career, paid/unpaid, staffed/unstaffed, local/county system.”
His report indicates that qualified staffing needs to be available when mobilized, and hopes that the task force would come up with an effective plan.
“We need to find a better system that we have today,” he said.
Yaeger also reported on other aspects of his department as follows:
- Nineteen of 20 jurisdictions (the Town of Alexander being the exception) have signed onto the county’s Hazard Mitigation Plan, which serves as a “blueprint for reducing the county’s vulnerability to disaster and hazards.”
Adopted in 2009, the HMP is a required guide for municipalities to be eligible for any state and federal mitigation funding. The updated County HazMat plan was approved by the legislature in October 2019.
- Three new deputy field coordinators have come on board in the past 16 months – Brian Schollard, Dan Coffey and Chuck Dodson.
In a related development, the PSC approved the acceptance of a State Homeland Security Program grant in the amount of $109,781 in connection with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The bulk of the award ($82,336) will be appropriated to the Emergency Management Office operating budget to be used to develop regional partnerships, citizen preparedness efforts, cybersecurity programs, information-sharing capabilities and planning.
The remainder will be directed to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement terrorism prevention initiatives.
Photo by Mike Pettinella.