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Vicki Hamilton of the American Red Cross Disaster Team is working to coordinate a three county Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) cooperative approach to any disaster that might befall Butte, Custer or Lemhi counties. The Red Cross is an active member of VOAD.

Hamilton met with the Lemhi County Commissioners Monday, November 23, to explain the purpose behind the effort. She said having a tri-county group working together would be a tool to build a resilience to disaster in the communities. She said, ďItís probably an ultimate tool to prepare a community or a county for disasters and have a better response in a disaster and to plan how weíre going to help people recover from those disasters.Ē

County Emergency Services Director Janet Nelson will be involved in the organizationís meetings. Hamilton said the East Idaho VOAD covers aspects that are in addition to Nelsonís duties. The first organizational VOAD meeting in Salmon is set for 1:30 PM on January 12 at the Calvary Chapel. A meeting in Custer County will be held in February at the Community Center and there will be a meeting in Arco at the Business Center in March. All the meetings will be held on the second Tuesday of the month.

She said the purpose of her visit was to ask the commissioners to help motivate the community to attend the meetings and participate in the program.

Commissioner Chairman Rick Snyder wondered what ever happened to the CERT program that used to be active and he assured Hamilton the county does have a detailed All Hazard Mitigation Plan. He said the plan of course covers the city however the city should also have a plan tailored to its specific needs. Snyder also said key personnel have all been trained in Incident Command procedures.

Hamilton said the goal of the program focuses on 4-Cís; Cooperation, Collaboration, Communication and Coordination. She said as the tri-county VOAD teams get started it will become clear who is interested in participating and that after a few meetings officers will be elected and by-laws written.

The hope is that plans for all situations can be formed to cover everything from a family becoming stranded when a car breaks down to an earthquake event in Challis that sends residents to Salmon looking for shelter. Hamilton said all scenarios will be considered.

The commissioners said they are in total support of the VOAD concept and thanked Hamilton for all her work.

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