Tuscaloosa EMA strives to coordinate, educate

Tuscaloosa County Emergency Management
Tuscaloosa County Emergency Management | State Agency Logo

In Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, the Emergency Management team is directed by David Hartin, who says that should an outbreak of Ebola or any other health-related emergency take place, his team stands ready to assist state agencies in support of any appropriate countermeasures.

“We and public health have a very close relationship,” Hartin said. “But public health, these are the medical folks, they’re the lead in information and such. We work hand-in-hand with them on coordination support. One of the training exercises we did just this past week was a drive-through flu clinic.

“Emergency Management’s role is to assist in providing materials, coordinating the traffic signs, the traffic cones and other things to make that a success. And that has been a very popular event in our county. It’s worked in our county for a number of years. One has the lead, in other words they have the medicine, the expertise. They set the time, the date and then we provide the logistical support and other things that are needed to make it happen.”

Hartin said that the State of Alabama has an aggressive public information campaign on Ebola preparedness, including a Youtube video produced on the subject that features talent from his own neck of the woods.

“It’s on the state website, it just happens to feature our public health officer,” Hartin said. “He is the featured speaker for the whole state of Alabama.”

In addition, meetings held in his county are often covered by several news outlets with a wide media footprint that extends well into other counties in Alabama.

While the area is full of emergency management directors that come from law enforcement and firefighter’s ranks, Hartin began as a volunteer for the Tuscaloosa County Civil Defense in 1974.