Pender County Commissioner Jackie Newton completed the 100 Counties Prepared Emergency Preparedness Training for county commissioners at the N.C. Association of County Commissioners’ (NCACC) 115th Annual Conference in Cabarrus County on Aug. 11, according to a news release.
At the same conference Aug. 13, Brunswick County Commissioner Frank Williams completed his term as president of NCACC.
The inaugural Emergency Services Training for Commissioners attended by Newton was part of a program developed by Williams as his president's initiative.
The 100 Counties Prepared initiative was born out of Williams' experience serving as chair of the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners during Hurricanes Florence, Dorian and Isaias, through which he observed a lack of emergency preparedness training suitable for elected officials, according to a release. He announced the initiative shortly after being installed as president in August 2021 in New Hanover County, and appointed a statewide task force co-chaired by Brunswick County Board of Commissioners Chairman Randy Thompson and Guilford County Commissioner Kay Cashion shortly thereafter.
“County governments perform a number of important functions, but the stakes are higher during an emergency,” Williams said in the release.
Newton said the state of Pender County’s Emergency Services Management team is strong.
“As a county commissioner, I have seen firsthand how necessary it is in a time of disaster to have relationships in place with key stakeholders to effect an immediate and productive response to a disaster event,” Newton said in the release. “Pender County is fortunate to be led by our EMS Director Tommy Batson, who has shown great leadership in the past and, with the EMS team, continues to build the relationships with strategic stakeholders that will affect a positive outcome for our citizens when the next disaster arrives.
"This training has strengthened my ability to provide effective leadership assistance to our EMS team and strategic partners at the appropriate time.”
Attendees heard from N.C. Director of Emergency Management Will Ray, who gave the keynote address in which he thanked NCACC under the leadership of Williams and the 100 Counties Prepared taskforce "for the important work done on this critical initiative," the release stated.