Bookmark and Share


Scherschligt displays boats used for the Search & Rescue team Watchful Eyes and Compassionate Hearts vBy Julie Eickhoff When it comes to the safety of Yankton county citizens during an emergency, Paul Scherschligt has their backs. Scherschligt began his role as Yankton County Emergency Manager in January 2011. The job suits him well; he’s always had the mentality of helping people and has nearly 40 years of public safety experience. Though he has an extremely busy schedule, he gladly arranged time for me to visit with him about the role he and his team have. Their office, located at 807 Capital Street, serves as base for the team. Staff members working with Paul include Erin Hacecky, Chief Deputy Emergency Manager; Robert Taylor, Deputy Emergency Manager/ Rescue Liaison; Cherie Hoffman, Deputy Emergency Manager/Public Information Officer and Bryant Jackson, Yankton County Search & Rescue Team Leader. Scherschligt explains that the emergency situations our county could face can be a result of manmade, nature or terror acts. Emergency management is categorized four ways: Preparedness, mitigation, response & recovery. He gives a brief explanation of what each category entails for his team. Preparedness – Preparedness looks at what can be done should an emergency happen, for example a result of nature or an instance such as an oil pipeline break. The look at how this can affect people and their life safety, for instance the odds of someone getting hurt, how many could be affected and even whether there is enough hospital room or transportation if needed. The preparedness plan is updated 8vHERVOICEvMAY/JUNE 2019 every year as it is vital to keep current contact information for agencies they work with. Mitigation – This step is basically being proactive of situations that could happen. The team watches areas that might become an issue and try to find ways to deter any problems. Part of this step is applying for mitigation grants which can help some of the projects. These grants which are based off previous disasters by the state are not a one-step process to apply for, it involves much time and effort. Response – In this phase, they look at everything that must be done, including what supplies or resources will be needed for a situation and what actions need to be taken. An example is if there is a house fire in Yankton County, his team will notify the Red Cross to find shelter for people displaced and will even assist in finding shelter for displaced animals of the home if needed. “In an emergency response situation,” he explains, “we’re always playing catch up. The incident happens and we come in behind it and actually pass it because that’s how you stop it. That’s the hard part. We’ve got a good group (to help).” In this phase, Paul will assign duties to the others working with him. They set up an EOC, or Emergency Operations Center, where computers and resources are available for the volunteers brought in to help with the situation. Recovery – This stage includes rebuilding destroyed property and repair of other infrastructure with the goal of returning systems and

© Copyright 2015 Her Voice Online