“I plan for the stuff I hope we never need,” explained new Itawamba County Emergency Management Director Patrick Homan.
Homan may be new to this position, but as an 18-year veteran fireman, he’s no novice when it comes to crisis situations. In fact, it’s somewhat of a family business.
He initially entered the field following in his father’s footsteps. As Lee County Fire Coordinator, Homan’s dad needed help with some computer setup which the young recruit was able to provide. That experience served him well when in 2011 he was named Fire Coordinator in Itawamba County.
As Fire Coordinator, Homan says he acts as a liaison between all Itawamba County Fire Departments and state and local government. Homan seeks out and applies for a number of grants throughout the year in addition to coordinating with the Board of Supervisors on the Fire Department’s budget in order to ensure all twelve county departments are adequately equipped to perform their duties to the best of their abilities and in compliance with state law.
“Right now we’re working on an Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG), which we’ve met all requirements for, and a Homeland Security Grant,” Homan informed, adding that there are a couple others in the works that he’s hoping to be able to announce soon.
As of March 2021, Homan is now serving as both the Fire Coordinator and Emergency Management Director of Itawamba County. Emergency Management Directors develop and implement all types of emergency plans including details for each county department.
“In Itawamba for example we have a sheltering plan that tells how and when to open and close shelters and now a pandemic plan that details how to respond to a natural or man-made pandemic,” said Homan.
One large part of making these plans involves communicating with other county entities.
“It’s my job to oversee and coordinate all agencies and how they respond and delegate specific responsibilities. You never know what you could need in a disaster and all agencies have different resources. That’s why it’s important to have those lines of communication open and to have a plan,” he said.
As far as long term goals, Homan says he wants to see more Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC) throughout the county. He also plans to integrate a variety of training experiences in order to optimize Itawamba County’s preparedness in all situations.
“I hope to see more self-sufficiently for Itawamba County. What we’ve lacked in the past is a cohesive effort to mitigate large events. I want to increase training to responders across the county, especially for less common situations,” he said.