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EMA certification will benefit Marengo County

Marengo County Emergency Management Agency director Kevin McKinney has been certified through the state’s Certification in Local Emergency Management (CLEM) program.

The program was established by the Alabama Legislature in 2007 and requires county EMA directors to complete 64 hours of college credit and 200 hours of emergency management courses provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“They didn’t specify any kind of study plan, so it was strictly up to me,” McKinney said. “We took things that would help us here in the office: more business classes and professional development courses.”

Completion of the certification allows county directors to receive a salary supplement from the Alabama EMA and allows local emergency management programs to compete or grants that are not available to counties that do not have a certified director.

“The program is similar to the one they passed for county engineers several years ago, where the state supplements salaries to get quality people in the offices,” McKinney said.

“The reason they tied the supplement into it was to give people the incentive to go for the training in the FEMA courses as well as the college experience, just to try to bring a more professional atmosphere to emergency management.”

“Another benefit from the program is the possibility of the county getting additional Emergency Management Program Grant funding,” said Lauree Ashcom, the deputy public information officer for Alabama EMA. “Thus far, 41 county EMA directors have enrolled in the program.”