• Charlene Sims, Journal staff

Several entities absent from emergency planning meeting

Updated: Nov 30

MOUND CITY – Linn County Fire Chief and Emergency Management Administrator Randy Hegwald reported to the Linn County Commission on Monday, Oct. 31, that the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) had met on Thursday, Oct. 27, with about a dozen attendees.

He said that representatives from Pleasanton, Linn Valley, and the school districts were there, but that there were no representatives from Mound City, La Cygne, or Evergy. Travis Laver, superintendent of Pleasanton USD 344, was elected chairman of the committee.

The state recently notified the county that it needed to insure that committee meets on a regular basis after it was learned it had not met for several months. Commissioners asked Hegwald to restart those meetings.

People required to be members of the committee are representatives who are decision-makers in an emergency from the commission, cities, school districts, sheriff’s office, water districts, electric utilities, and the health department to name a few.

Commissioner Rick James stressed the importance of representatives attending the meeting as it was set up to be preparation for emergency scenarios that could happen in the county.

James said, “It’s big if it happens.”

The fire chief also reported that there had been nine incidents the past week. Two were medical assists, two were brush or brush and grass fires, one was a grain or crop fire, one was a building fire, one was a motor vehicle accident with injuries, one was a motor vehicle accident with no injuries and one was a gas leak. The yearly total is now 472 incidents.

Hegwald recommended that Kristen Gillis be hired as a probationary firefighter for the Prescott fire station pending all pre-employment screening. Gillis will bring the number of firefighters up to six at that station. The station is approved for 15 firefighters. The commissioners approved the recommendation.

Next, Pleasanton Fire Captain Jeff Wisdom presented an application for Becky Hegwald to be hired as a firefighter at Pleasanton. Wisdom said that right now, the station had 16 firefighters of the 22 approved for that station.

Wisdom said that in order to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, he had first talked with the fire chief to see how he felt about it that his wife was applying for the position and then he and another fire captain interviewed her, leaving the fire chief out of it. The commissioners approved Hegwald’s application.

Hegwald reported that the fire departments had really stepped up to work with Halloween groups in the different communities. He said that the Trunk or Treat event at Pleasanton with the health department had about 200 kids attend.

Hegwald also told the commissioners that the CERT class that had been taught by Emergency Planner Linda Simons, Jeff Boyd and Jeff Wisdom had gone well. It was nine classes during a four-week period.

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