Below is the Sunday, April 5th, update from the Fremont County Incident Management Team:
What is the EOC and what happens there?
Many of you have asked about the Fremont County government’s response to COVID-19. A key part of our response, which allows us to maintain the big picture of the needs and concerns in the county, is the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) located in Riverton. This center follows the structure of an Incident Command System (ICS). The ICS system is set up to facilitate and organize a cooperative response by multiple agencies and entities. ICS ensures that the most pressing needs are met, and that precious resources are used without duplication or waste.
We realized early on that a traditional ICS structure was set up for floods or fire disasters, physical things that are easy to see and are confined to a specific location. Existing Fremont County disaster plans involved environmental disasters and centralized mass shelters. A medical pandemic presents new challenges. The coronavirus cannot be seen, and new scientific information about the virus is published daily.
Throughout the day there are scheduled meetings with the state and local entities to keep on top of the epidemic and to share information. A network of medical professionals are connected to support the EOC. Many of our public officials are connected with businesses and state officials and keep us informed about economic impacts, state response, flow of relief funding, community coordination.
We watch critical points like supply of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) daily. We coordinate data collection to monitor disease spread and resource needs. We frequently reassess and adjust our response planning and resource allocation
We have provided brief descriptions of the main sections of our incident command teams and their functions below. Each section has a team of workers supporting the mission and the section leader.
Incident Commander (IC), Kim Lee:
The incident commander helps to define daily and weekly objectives and oversees the EOC. IC Lee creates a daily situation report about the county’s COVID-19 response for the state. IC Lee coordinates with Fremont County Sheriff, Ryan Lee and Fremont County Commissioner Chairman, Travis Becker. They conduct a daily conference call with County Commissioners, elected city officials, medical facilities, tribal partners, and other ancillary agencies to discuss the current situation, and to field any concerns throughout the county.
Public Information Officer (PIO), Mike Jones:
The PIO focuses on communication with elected officials, the public, and the press. County Commissioner Jones meets with Public Health Officer Dr. Brian Gee, daily to focus on the message. In addition to the press releases and general communications, they have set up a web page for the public to ask questions: https://fremontwycovid.com/.
Logistics (LSC), Kathi Metzler:
The logistics department supports the EOC and the Operations Department by coordinating supplies and equipment. Fremont County’s Emergency Management Coordinator, Kathi Mezler, is in communication with the Department of Homeland Security and state officials. She has daily calls with partners about logistics, medical supplies, availability of federal stores and emergency equipment available for disasters. Kathi sends requests to the state to be filled as needed in the county.
Finance (FSC), Julie Freese, County Budget Officer:
In a disaster, we have to record our expenses and submit them through state and FEMA for reimbursement. The documentation is extensive. While all areas track their own finances, they are reported to and coordinated by Fremont County Clerk, Julie Freese.
Operations (OSC), Brian Gee:
The medical side of the EOC is the Fremont County Public Health team, headed by Becky Parkins and our Public Health Officer, Dr. Brian Gee. Operations establish strategy and works with providers and other parts of the EOC to implement the strategy. The Public Health Office has its own emergency management coordinator, Traci Foutz. The team answers calls from and advises symptomatic individuals. They also coordinate with county medical facilities to share technical updates and keep track of what is happening in the clinics and work to stay on top of national and international information about the virus. Their public health data information gathering system is now being used by other counties in the state.
Planning (PSC), Darby Frank:
The Planning Section tracks human resources and produces the Incident Action Plan (IAP), a written document explaining our objectives and actions taken to reach those objectives. Within the planning section, the Documentation Unit tracks all documents and information that will be used to document the incident. The Technical Specialist sets up conference calls, records them, and sends emails with the official Situation Reports and IAPs.
What else would you like to know about the EOC and its functions? Send us questions or general COVID-19 questions at: https://fremontwycovid.com/