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County recognizes emergency staff
Kitsap County presented 121 of its employees with certificates of appreciation on Tuesday for their role in providing public assistance during the December storm season.
“This was a collective effort by employees across the county,” said South Kitsap Commissioner Charlotte Garrido. “This allowed us to maintain services throughout the storm. Without these people, the storm would have truly paralyzed the community.”
Even so, it wasn’t easy going for a lot of local residents, whose streets were not plowed until after Christmas — two weeks after the initial snowfall.
The employees, from across county departments, worked about 10,000 hours (4,400 hours overtime) to manage the storm.
“Many of our employees missed their own family events and had to postpone their holiday celebrations,” Garrido said. “We all expect government to be there in a crisis, but we forget that they have to navigate the same roads that we do. They don’t have a magic carpet they can use to get to work.”
Public Works spokesman Doug Bear, who managed public information for the entire county during the storm, said this year was especially difficult because, “We hadn’t finished digging out from one storm when the next one hit.”
Bear said he learned a personal lesson during the storm, that it helps to know your neighbors.
Frustrated about being snowed in, he hired someone to plow his driveway. The contractor charged several hundred dollars and broke a water pipe in the process.
Bear then visited his neighbor, who turned out to be a plumbing contractor with a snow plow.
“He fixed my pipe for free, and told me to never pay anyone to plow my driveway again,” Bear said. “You can really benefit by getting to know your neighbors and figuring out what resources you can share.”
One factor that helped to mitigate the storm was the use of salt brine, which the county recently incorporated into its storm arsenal. By spraying roads before the storm, the conditions were not as severe when the snow finally fell.
Bear said the county was able to accommodate the increased need for supplies since it manufactures its own salt brine and sand compounds.
Preparedness is an ongoing strategy, according to Department of Emergency Management Director Phyllis Mann.
“We just have to maintain a steady course,” she said. “During an emergency, we need to just keep plugging away one day at a time and use all of our resources.”
Mann said the county is providing more services on the Internet, which aids the information flow. And with the increasing use of phones with Internet access, people can access this information more easily during power outages.
There are still some gaps, such as the fact that people don’t realize they can recharge smart phones from their cars, rather than rely on standard power.
Another key transportation resource was the Port Orchard-Bremerton foot ferry, which facilitated travel between the two population centers.
This year it was the storm, and last year there were floods.
These conditions could repeat themselves, or the region could be hit by an earthquake--an event that would not resolve itself when the snow melts.
Mann advises that everyone should have at least a five-day supply of food and water.
“People more aware,” she said. “We are much better off now than we were just a few years ago.”
While the county commissioners said that all employees helped deal with the storm, the following were singled out for special recognition: They include:
Shane Hart, Rick Uhnick, David Lind, Ron Barnett, Richard Gauthier, George Thompson, Adrian Eckstrom, Jeff Tedpahago Jr., Jake Avenson, Bret Blackford, Rich Lombard, Joe Bowling, Bobby Watson, Jason Foucher, Gerald Voss, Joel Goodwin, John Kaster, Bill Stoner, Vern LaVigne, Terry Botts, Scott Zinter, Ron Pierce, Del Gann, Daren Miller, Dan O'Brien, Jim Massee, Alan Rudman, Jim Shierk, Jim McCready, Vaughan Amende, Steve Moore, Steve Marggraf, Marty Morford, Rodney Chipps, Paige Anderson, Eric Mathes, Craig Mann, Will Brainin, Scott Quy, Bob Scott, Mike Vollick, Keith Webster, Mark Bricker, Don Smith, James Goff, John Nardi, Jeff Goodwin, Paul Woods, Bob Hambly, Dennis Thorne, Kelley Scoggins, Wally Rapp, Tim Baker, Brian Thorson, Richard Elkington, Pat Atack, Gary Baker, Nicholas Lee, Tom Pisz, James Dillon, Shannon Bronniman, Michael Murphy, Chris Granstrom, John Brace. Bob Wilson, Steve Cates, Howard Kauffman, Ron Collins, Greg Dixon, Scott Raezer, Ron Moore, Steve Downing, Jim Foley, Scott Rauch, Joe Patti, Steve McGarr, Greg Sherman, Chris Ackerman, Matt Metzger, Chris Esguerra, David Bledsoe, David Parcel, Shannon Pugh, Erin Denny, Antonia Kruckeberg, Audrey Shannon, Cindy Keiser, Cathy Wilson, Rachelle Bruney, Tim Simonson, Tim Robrahn, Bonnie Almirol, Kathy Galbraith, Scott Caldwell, Elmer Santos, Hazel Bellinger, Bill Main, Chris Kleinfelder, Jule Sheridan, Nancy LeMay, Sarah Jennings, Heather Rendon, Sheila Ring, Emily Garner, Sheryl Wagner, Kandace Buns, Gordy Matheson, Jeff Austin, Chad Peterson, Mia Alexander, Lisa Thompson, Kimberlee Poe.