Originally published May 6, 2013.
When Lindsie Goss showed up for her first day of work on Monday, May 6, she already had a full plate of things to get done.
Goss is the new Huntington County Emergency Management director, and says her path to the position was an interesting one.
"I've always has a fascination with earthquakes," Goss says. "I have 10 years experience in emergency medicine and was planning to go to medical school."
However, after hearing about the field of emergency management, she says plans changed and she gravitated towards that career path.
"This job fits perfectly because I'm managing incidents like earthquakes, Hazmat and other emergencies," Goss states.
The Fort Wayne resident adds that even though she's new to the position, she is comfortable because of her support system.
"I like knowing that I have a wealth of resources in the form of qualified individuals and agencies that the EMA collaborates with," Goss notes. "A large part of my job is knowing what resources are available and when to call them in a specific emergency situation."
She adds that the financial aspect of her job includes managing EMA funds and grant writing.
"I'm the go-to person whenever an emergency goes beyond the scope of what that agency is capable of handling," Goss states. "It's my job to provide assistance in those situations by collaborating with the right agencies."
Weather warnings are also within the scope of her job description, she adds.
"That includes tornadoes and snow emergencies," Goss notes. "Although I personally can't declare a snow emergency, I can make the recommendation."
One of the tasks on her "high priority" list is dealing with the paperwork from the recent flooding that affected several individuals April 19-22.
"We have had many claims and I'm currently tying all that paperwork together to submit it to FEMA," Goss says. "The process is not a simple one though."
Goss says several counties across the state suffered damage to public and private property similar to Huntington County.
"After all the damage is assessed, that final total is submitted and it is up to the government to declare that Indiana is in a state of disaster.
"Funds would then be dispensed and allocated accordingly," she says. "If we aren't declared to be in an emergency, then there might be other options in the form of grants."
Goss says she has been receiving questions from residents affected about the waiting process and how to proceed with repairs.
"After I submit the paperwork, my hands are tied as I'm now waiting on FEMA," she states. "I tell everyone that if you have something repaired or replaced because it was damaged by the recent flood, document it and save your receipts. If funds become available, you will not be reimbursed without receipts or documentation."
Goss says that although she is grateful for the current crop of volunteers that she has, more are always welcome.
"I'm in the process of putting together an application for volunteers to fill out," she notes. "If anyone has a background or training in OSHA, C.B.R.N.E. (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive), they are welcome to volunteer."
Goss says that there have been indications from local industries that are interested in conducting disaster preparedness drills and collaborating with multiple agencies to do so.
She adds that she is also in the beginning stages of an additional volunteer program titled, G.O. (Get Out), specifically geared towards individuals with no experience in the aforementioned areas.
"This is focused on community emergency preparedness and volunteers are also welcome to apply to help organize the program," Goss says. "All volunteers will have to agree to undergo a background check."
It's been a busy week, but Goss says that she is settling in and looking forward to moving into the county and helping the department continue its service to the community.
"In light of the recent incidents in Boston, a lot of people want to know if we are prepared," Goss notes. "But they take comfort in knowing that our law enforcement personnel and other agencies are well equipped and prepared to protect the community. We have a system in place and know how to use it effectively."
For more information on volunteer opportunities, contact Goss via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .