BENTON -- Among all his other responsibilities, Scott County's new county commissioner will also need to begin taking NIMS classes.
Mark Winkler, State Emergency Management Agency coordinator, met with commissioners during the regular County Commission meeting Tuesday.
"After a major election I like to come see who the new commissioners are," Winkler said.
Winkler introduced himself to Commissioner Donnie Kiefer, who took office Jan. 1, as SEMA's liaison for emergency issues in the 13 counties of region E.
Most of the time he works with Scott County through Joel Evans, emergency management director for the county, Winkler explained, but he does work directly with commissioners in a national disaster situation.
There were eight presidential disaster declarations in Missouri last year, Winkler said, "and Scott County participated in three of those eight."
Winkler said the federal government came up with the National Incident Management System following the 9/11 terrorist attack so authorities across the nation would be "working under the same system" during emergencies.
While other county officials are current on their NIMS requirements, Kiefer will need to take NIMS courses for the county to remain eligible for some federal assistance.
"Any Homelands Security grants now are tied to your compliance with NIMS," Winkler said.
There is not much that is new in this year's update of the county's Emergency Operations Plan, Winkler said.
He said there is an emphasis this year on addressing the special needs population which he explained are residents who are homebound or otherwise need special care in an emergency due to medical conditions. Winkler said members of the special needs population are not received by Red Cross shelters.
Winkler advised county officials to start gathering information on the county's special needs population.
In other county business Tuesday, Evans in his role as county developer updated commissioners on upcoming grant opportunities and advised commissioners the county needs to compile a list of shelters that service the homeless in the county by Feb. 15 for 2010 census officials.
"I guess this is another way they can find people to count them," Presiding Commissioner Jamie Burger said.