At a Town Meeting last year, a resident asked the question, “what will the City of Lakeland do in the event of a major disaster”?
As a result of this question, Mayor Carmichael and the Board of Commissioners asked that Emergency Management be placed on the Annual Board of Commissioners Retreat for detailed discussion.
The city determined that, while the Memphis/Shelby County Emergency Management Agency does an excellent job, the City of Lakeland needed a local program to complement and be a liaison with the Shelby County EMA.
A primary purpose of the local program would be to insure City personnel were prepared for an emergency and that information and training was available to Lakeland residents and businesses. The special emphasis is on survival of the “first three days”, the restoration of public and private services and the continuation of business.
While a full-time Lakeland Emergency Management Director was budgeted, this was changed to a part-time position as a result of the economic slowdown. We were fortunate that the top applicant for the Lakeland Emergency Management Director position, Claude Talford, was available for appointment to the position on a part-time basis. Claude is retired from the Memphis Fire Department and also recently served as the Shelby County Emergency Management Director.
Claude has been active in reviewing and improving our existing Emergency Management program, including training, equipment and supply needs, and available grant and training programs. He is coordinating offering CERT Training and other Emergency Management training.
Claude is available to speak to Lakeland Civic groups, Homeowner Associations, Neighborhood Associations and individual businesses and neighborhoods on emergency management and especially preparing for an emergency, survival for the first three days and, for businesses, how to prepare for a disaster and continue in business after a disaster. Programs will be announced after the first of the year
Claude is preparing monthly (or more frequent) short tips on how to cope with emergency situations ranging from winter weather to major disasters. These will be made available on the city web page, QNet and are available for distribution to “get the word out”.
I am pleased to have an Emergency Management Director with Claude Talford’s experience and qualifications and I have been very pleased with his progress during his short time as Emergency Management Director. He has reviewed our current Emergency Management operations and procedures and is already taking action to insure the City and community are better able to respond to future emergency situations by arranging for training, looking for grants for equipment and strengthening our Emergency Management response procedures.