PARIS — A state official praised the Oxford County Emergency Management Agency during a meeting of the Oxford County commissioners Tuesday, saying the agency has been working hard to prepare for potential disasters. Rob McAleer, director of the Maine Emergency Management Agency, talks with Scott Parker, director of the Oxford County Emergency Management Agency, and commissioners Caldwell Jackson, Steve Merrill, and David Duguay on Tuesday. Rob McAleer, director of the Maine Emergency Management Agency, met with the commissioners and staff from the county EMA in the Emergency Operations Center. McAleer said the county EMA has mostly completed a disaster mitigation plan to submit to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
McAleer said the county EMA has also cooperated extensively with local emergency responders and planners. This approach helps look at emergencies in a regional manner, a method McAleer said is promoted at the state-level agency.
McAleer said Scott Parker, director of the county EMA, has taken a proactive approach to issues and frequently given input and suggestions to the state agency. Parker said the achievements of the EMA would not have been possible without the contributions of four other employees. Steve Merrill, chairman of the commissioners, asked if there were weaknesses the agency needs to address.

McAleer said the EMA faces challenges since it is in a rural community, and encouraged continued operation between the county and municipalities to put responders on a more equal footing. COMMUNICATIONS TRAINING - The Oxford County Regional Communication Center sponsored its first ever Communications Training Conference April 9 at the Paris Fire Station. 2011 BUDGET WORKSHOP — The county budget committee, commissioners, department heads and the public gathered for the annual workshop where the committee makes its official recommendations on the upcoming budget. A memorial on the grounds of the Spink County Courthouse recognizes all branches of the military. On April 11, 2014 Spink County was awarded a $10,000 matching grant from the South Dakota State Historical Society Deadwood Fund Grant.
He said the county has also worked to prepare for hazards through training and exercises. These activities include working to meet a requirement switching radios to narrow band by 2013 and utilizing federal emergency management performance grant funds to bolster municipal emergency planning. He said the cooperation between the EMA and local responders led to a unified response by about 50 fire departments to a major fire at NEPW Logistics in Paris in December  2008. He said Parker has done particularly strong work with the Community Emergency Response Team, which trains to operate emergency shelters and perform other tasks during disasters.

Emergency service agencies and personnel gathered with dispatchers to improve service to the public as well as learn the new systems coming on-line. They include an emergency care center and alternate care site drill conducted at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School and Stephens Memorial Hospital, and an active shooter simulation held at Rumford Hospital.
Below, from left, are Emergency Management Agency Director Scott Parker, County Administrator Scott Cole, Bethel Selectman and committee member Robert Everett and Chairman Heard. At right, Fred Henderson of Greenwood gestures as Rick Micklon of Otisfield, left, and Wade Rainey of West Paris, look on. Terry Hayes, D-Buckfield, session facilitator with Emergency Management Director Scott Parker behind; Sgt.
Ken Grimes, Maine Fire Marshal's office; and Richard Davol, Communications Consulting Services of Gray.

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