Franchot praises QA emergency response
CENTREVILLE — Queen Anne’s County Emergency Planner David Rivett credited the response to the EF-2 tornado that ripped through parts of Kent Island on July 24 to the department’s training with all its partners.
Through partnerships with area law enforcement, fire and emergency services, Rivett explained to Comptroller Peter Franchot on Monday, Sept. 11, that over a handful of years completing exercises, the group as a whole was ready to respond to the destructive storm.
Franchot visited the Department of Emergency Services headquarters, 100 Communications Drive, on Monday afternoon, Sept. 11, to tour the facility and to give the department a proclamation for its “unwavering commitment to providing unparalleled service to the citizens of Queen Anne’s County” with “special appreciation for your heroic efforts in assisting residents and businesses” during and after the tornado hit the region.
Having toured the damaged neighborhoods days after the storm, Franchot said he has heard “nothing but praise” from the community about how the county and allies responded. “Everybody was just there to do their assigned task,” he said.
Emergency Services Director Scott Haas, who credited Rivett with spearheading the action efforts, said the department is built on relationships and said the true hero of the storm response was Delmarva Power for its quick action getting power back to the affected areas. Haas said Delmarva initially estimated power would be out two or three days but had almost 9,000 homes and businesses back running under 24 hours.
Mentioning the tagline that used to be on the bottom of all state-sent emails, “Building a Resilient Maryland,” Haas said the Queen Anne’s County community has demonstrated how true that catchphrase is. Speaking about the community’s action, Haas said his team had only helped guide a few things and that “they’ve been in front of us on everything.”
County Commissioner Mark Anderson, who praised the county’s staff and leadership, said, “I don’t know how y’all do it, but it gets done and it gets done with tremendous success.”
“We make sure that lives and health of our citizens do not get sacrificed to save dollars,” Anderson said. “We find a way to move the dollars so they can be supported.”
Through collaboration and cross-communication with allied agencies, Anderson said the multiple training exercises completed for various situations paid off.
Rivett thanked the local government leaders for supplying the department with the necessary tools and equipment to be successful. He said the items they budget for are not wants, but needs, as the Department of Emergency Services understands it needs to be fiscally responsible with taxpayer money.
“We’ve built an agency that includes everybody,” Rivett said, ”and I think that was the success for the tornado response.”
Kim Kratovil, representing U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin’s office, said from a personal standpoint the communication and responsiveness between government and residents was appreciated.
Anderson praised the community members of the damaged areas for checking in on their neighbors and helping clear debris. Anderson also thanked the Department of Public Works for keeping the transfer stations open longer.
“We demonstrated in this county through all of us, cooperating with good leadership, we saw a community come together and deal with this as a neighbor to neighbor, people needing help and getting it,” Anderson said.
Prior to visiting emergency services, Franchot toured the Kennard High School African American Cultural Heritage Center in Centreville to learn what the Kennard Alumni Association, lead by Clayton Washington, had done with its restoration efforts.
Franchot gave Washington a Comptroller’s Medallion for turning a vacant building into an educational center. In 2014, the Maryland Board of Public Works, made up of Gov. Larry Hogan, Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp, approved $100,000 for rehabilitation of the center.
After his visit Franchot went down the street to walk through the construction site of the new 42,000-square-foot Queen Anne’s County Circuit Courthouse that is to be opened in Spring 2018. Later, he paid his respects to firefighters manning a 9/11 display over U.S. Route 50.
Clerk of the Court Scott MacGlashan and Comptroller Peter Franchot look through a sky roof inside the under construction circuit courthouse on Monday, Sept. 11, as the comptroller viewed its progress. From left: MacGlashan, Franchot and Public Works Director Todd Mohn.
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, middle, gives Kennard Alumni Association President Clayton Washington a Comptroller’s Medallion on Monday for his work in creating the Kennard High School African American Cultural Heritage Center. From left: County Commissioner Mark Anderson, Washington, Franchot, County Commissioners Jim Moran and Robert Buckey.
Comptroller Peter Franchot, middle, gave emergency planner David Rivett, right, a medallion for his work during the July EF-2 tornado that struck Kent Island. From left: Rivett, Franchot and Emergency Services Director Scott Haas.