Craig Walker has been dealing with one emergency after another since he was 19 years old.
Currently the emergency management coordinator for McDowell County, North Carolina, including the Marion and Old Fort townships, Walker has worked in fire and emergency services all of his adult life.
“I’ve been in it since I was 19 years old,” Walker said. “It’s all I’ve ever done.”
Walker's office is responsible for preparation and response to a wide variety of public safety threats, including biological dangers. In the case of a localized biological threat, state agencies are notified immediately and Walker has a local plan ready and in place.
“We have an emergency operations plan for the county that addresses everything from natural disasters to a pandemic disaster,” Walker said. “We have protocols in place and measures in place to take care of those issues as they arise.”
Walker, who has been in his current job for a year, said his office communicates to the public through announcements to keep the local population prepared and educated on what to do in an emergency situation.
He also tries to keep in touch via social media and press releases to the local media on a regular basis.
McDowell County also uses the Nixle emergency notification system to reach out to local residents by phone if an emergency arises that requires a widespread response quickly.
“I think we try to keep the public apprised of the situation with whatever’s going on and keep everybody prepared,” Walker said.