Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Local News

March 15, 2010

New emergency coordinator began job in a hurry

Usually a new employee has the chance to settle in.

Because of the recent winter weather, Jack Snow, Johnson County’s new emergency management coordinator, did not have that opportunity.

“When I walked in the door, it was harrowing for the first few days just trying to figure out what was going on,” he said. “It was my second or third day when there were tornado watches, so I didn’t get much chance to relax and get ready, but I have received help from a lot of people.”

Snow, a former Crowley police officer and criminal investigator with the Texas Attorney General’s office, received most of his training and experience in the Texas State Guard.

As a staff sergeant with the 4th Regiment, 7th Battalion, of the Texas State Guard based in Fort Worth, he was deployed four times to help with the aftermath of hurricanes Dean, Dolly, Ike and Gustav.

He said guard members receive training from FEMA and the American Red Cross that is similar to the training first responders receive.

“The main mission of the Texas State Guard is shelter management,” he said. “The mission is always evolving. It’s always changing.”

Snow said that with his experience, he helped write the training manual on shelter management for the 4th Regiment.

“It is basically shelter management for boots on the ground,” he said. “The actual hands on running the shelter stuff.”

Snow said this experience piqued his interest in emergency management, and when a friend told him about the Johnson County opening, he decided to take a shot at it.

“I’m glad they hired me,” he said. “I wasn’t exactly expecting it.”

Snow said Johnson County Judge Roger Harmon was interested in his 18 years in law enforcement and his leadership abilities as a company first sergeant in the guard.

“I’ve come in here, and I’m learning. So far, it has been a good experience,” he said. “We’ve got a good start. My staff, Brenda Campbell and Diana Esparza, are doing a great job.”

He said his job description as coordinator is hard to explain.

“My job is not to be out there fighting fires. My job is to assist the fire department,” he said. “I go out and ask them, ‘What do you need in the way of resources?’ ”

Using the example of a brush fire, Snow said his job would be to contact the state to obtain help if local resources are overwhelmed and act as a liaison between the county judge and the different resources.

“We have an emergency plan,” he said. “My job from this point forward is to plan and update it to make sure that we are up to date on it because resources change.”

Snow said another part of his job is to work closely with the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army should residents need their assistance.

“Those people are the best resources there are,” he said. “They have been around forever. They know how to do this.”

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