It is a “very quite” Sunday morning. There is no Church service today because of the weather conditions. I’m sitting in a warm house while there is still a foot of snow outside. I am reflecting on the differences between “Winter Storm Pandora” from 2015 versus “Winter Storm Jonas” of 2016.

We were talking with Michael Cook from VEC the day before “Jonas” hit. Because of the massive work done last year, most of our powerlines were clear this year. Mike expected any outages to be relatively isolated.

Further, through the harsh experience of last year, our emergency services teams were better prepared this time around. Generators and other equipment were checked prior to the storm. Our Emergency Management Team, Ambulance Service, Volunteer Rescue Squad, Volunteer Fire Departments, the Fentress County Sheriff’s Department and Highway Department were all on full alert in readiness for the storm and its aftermath. Obviously, dealing with 10-12 inches of snow stretches our resources to their limits.

We appreciate the fact that many households were better prepared and better equipped than last year. It has been estimated that almost four times as many households had generators this year over last year’s numbers. Having emergency food, water and fuel supplies also made a huge difference in many households. We thank our citizens for their patience and understanding as our county workers dealt with harsh conditions.

Lastly, we want to mention the “6 E’s” of innovation as we compare and contrast the two storms:

  1. Equipment: Upgrade in equipment, generators and supplies.
  2. Experience: I know it’s trite, but “Been there done that”.
  3. Expertise: More training and upgrades in policies and procedures.
  4. Example: Communicating and working with other counties and agencies. Learning from mistakes.
  5. EOC Mobile Unit: Having a mobile Emergency Operations Command Center in addition to the E-911 Command Center.
  6. Evaluation: Documentation of procedures, manpower, volunteers and equipment used.

We hope that by the time this column is published that Winter Storm Jonas and its effects will be a fading memory. Think I’ll have another cup of coffee.

We can be reached at 879-7713. Executive Assistant Amanda Hicks can also be reached at ten.s1500749786ekalw1500749786t@skc1500749786ihadn1500749786ama1500749786 County Commission meetings are held every third Monday at 6:00 p.m. following a 5:00 o’clock work session. All meetings are open to the public.