County earns statewide honors for emergency management

Elkhart County was recognized for its top-tier emergency management program.

Posted on Nov. 6, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.

ELKHART — It was a busy year for Elkhart County’s emergency management team, and now the department has two awards to show for it.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security recognized Elkhart County as the state’s top emergency management program. The Elkhart County Emergency Management Department also earned the highest assessment score among the seven counties in its district. For that award, the state reviewed administration, operations, resources and communication efforts.

Jennifer Tobey, the county’s emergency management director, said the county dedicated the past year to revising its emergency plan and helping other counties in need. Earlier this year, Tobey was among a group of volunteers who deployed to Henryville to help with disaster relief after tornadoes blew through the southern part of Indiana.

“All of what we do is based on a team effort,” said Tobey, who serves as president of the Emergency Management Alliance of Indiana. “It’s not one person in the office that can do everything. It’s 100 percent teamwork, but that teamwork goes outside of the box to include our commissioners, our county administrator, our sheriff and the fire chiefs.”

Without their support, Tobey said, the county would not have won the two awards.

From her office in Elkhart, Tobey has been coordinating relief efforts on the East Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. A team of volunteers that deployed to New Jersey before the storm hit returned home to northern Indiana late Friday night, Tobey said. Goshen Fire Chief Dan Sink will end a 15-day deployment on the East Coast on Sunday.

“They really, really were busy,” Tobey said. “They did a lot of good for a lot of people, and they really wanted to stay longer to help and were disappointed that they had to come home.”

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