Myers settling into new role as EMA coordinator
by Jennifer Cohron
Jan 11, 2014 | 1853 views | 0 0 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Regina Myers, coordinator of the Walker County Emergency Management Agency, looks over a map of the county’s outdoor weather sirens. One of Myers’ first actions as coordinator was to present the county commission with a list of sirens that need repairs. Daily Mountain Eagle - Jennifer Cohron
Regina Myers, coordinator of the Walker County Emergency Management Agency, looks over a map of the county’s outdoor weather sirens. One of Myers’ first actions as coordinator was to present the county commission with a list of sirens that need repairs. Daily Mountain Eagle - Jennifer Cohron
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Hours after Regina Myers was named coordinator of the Walker County Emergency Management Agency, she responded to a hazardous material spill related to a fatal car accident.

An unpredictable schedule is nothing new for Myers, who has been with the local EMA for nearly 10 years.

Myers and Tommy Davis, the only two members of the department, are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“This is not a job that you just choose to do. You have to have it in you to want to do it. It’s a life choice,” Myers said.

Myers worked in the medical field before joining EMA in April 2004.

That September, Hurricane Ivan hit Alabama and gave Myers on-the-ground training in emergency response.

Myers served as the department’s public information officer and planner before being promoted to the role of coordinator in December.

One of her priorities for the next year is to update the county’s federally-mandated hazard mitigation plan.

The document must be rewritten every five years and determines whether the county is eligible to receive federal money for vital projects after a presidential disaster declaration is issued.

“If you don’t have the right things in that plan, you can’t ask for funds for those projects in the event of a disaster when those funds become available,” Myers said.

The current plan, which expires in December 2014, was responsible for the county getting funds to replace outdoor weather sirens and construct storm shelters after the April 2011 tornadoes.

Every community in the county will be invited to provide feedback on the new plan, and public meetings will also be scheduled.

In the coming months, Myers will also be working on an anthrax plan that covers Jefferson and its surrounding counties.

“We have to designate points of distribution where the public would go in the event of an anthrax attack and get their antibiotic supplies,” she said.

Walker County EMA will be participating in an exercise of that plan this summer.

Myers has also placed an emphasis this year on taking advantage of training opportunities and building stronger relationships with EMA’s partners throughout the county, including law enforcement, emergency responders and city leaders.

Myers is pleased with the progress she has seen in that area in less than six months on the job, including a brief period as interim coordinator.

Representatives from EMA were on scene at all major incidents in 2013, including fuel spills and the bomb threat at Walker Baptist Medical Center.

“It takes all of us working together to serve the citizens,” she said.