Emergency Management in Marion County, Florida, falls under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Office, and ultimately Lt. Chip Wildy, who serves as the Emergency Management Director for the county.
“I didn’t come here in kind of the traditional (way),” Wildy said. “Emergency management comes up under the Sheriff’s office here in Marion County. We’re one of the 12 counties in the state where it does. Basically I came out of the command structure, out of patrol. So my background was enforcement.”
Preparedness for a biological or chemical attack or outbreak is spread out among the departments that would normally be the first on the scene should such a situation take place.
“Basically our fire department handles the medical transport,” Wildy said. “So they’ve been preparing in case they get something as far as what to do with their people; how they would dress and what they would do as far as handling any material and anything having to do with the patient. Emergency Management would basically be in a support role, and supplying infrastructure to the policy command group in case something should happen.”
Wildy said procedures that have been in place for some time are sufficient to handle current threats.
“A lot of these procedures, basically all they did was kind of take the book off the shelf and dust it off, and adjust it for what we’re facing now” Wildy said. “I think we are as prepared as we can be at this stage of the game. The people who need to be on it are, that’s the first responders. The health department and the hospitals are ready. I don’t know that it would be any different than any other quarantine situation, and they practice that stuff all the time.”