Cerro Gordo County Emergency Management
Steve O'Neil, Coordinator
78 South Georgia Ave
Mason City, IA 50401
Office fax: 641-421-3662
Inside the Mason City Police Department building is the Cerro Gordo County Emergency Management Office. Steve O'Neil is the coordinator of this office for Cerro Gordo County in Iowa. Mr. O'Neil is responsible for assisting government agencies in their training, development and implementation of large-scale emergency responses to natural as well as man-made disasters. After 9/11, the emphasis on homeland security, terrorism, target hardening and biological warfare has increased tremendously. Recently, possible flu pandemics tied to avian or H1N1 flu strains have received a lot of media attention.
Local agencies practice the National Incident Command or NIMs strategies in responding to various large-scale emergencies. O'Neil assists agencies work together from the local and state levels to the federal level, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Additionally, if the area is declared a state or federal disaster, the area may be eligible for reimbursement from the government for resources spent dealing with the disaster. The Emergency Management Coordinator assists the agencies involved in completing the paperwork for reimbursement.
When a large-scale emergency happens, Emergency Management has the ability to activate mobile command posts or the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). These command posts or the EOC is not open to the general public. They are restricted to leaders from the affected communities and agencies to make command decisions and then coordinate information and resource sharing amongst those involved.
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is comprised of community volunteers that undergo hours of on-going training during the year. These volunteers are ready to help supplement emergency response operations throughout the community where needed. Additionally, they also assist with weather-spotting, and monitoring river levels during potential flooding which frees up emergency services to respond to calls related to the emergency.
There is a lot more information regarding the Emergency Management Agency and emergency plans located on the Agency's pages on the Cerro Gordo County website.