by Dale Freeman, Tyler County Emergency Management Coordinator
On Saturday, April 28, 2012, Eighteen (18) Tyler County Emergency Service District Commissioners attended training at the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission Meeting Room. The training was titled ESD 101 and was Conducted by the Texas State Association of Fire and Emergency Districts known as SAFE-D. The Training was accredited by the V.G. Young Institute. SAFE-D is an organization that was created to assist ESDs in much the same way the Texas Municipal League (TML) assists city governments and the Texas Association of Counties (TAC) assist county governments. SAFE-D supplies consistent and correct information and other assistance to districts all across the state. With correct information, the ESDs will be better able to run their districts in an open and efficient manner that will be consistent with their purpose and worthy of the trust given them by the taxpaying public.
Legislation that went into effect on June 13th, 2011 made six (6) hours mandatory training every two years an eligibility requirement for serving as a Commissioner on an Emergency Service District. The deadline for receiving this training is June 13th, 2013. This training received on this date satisfies this training requirement for those in attendance. Legislation passed in 2011 made many changes to the way Emergency Service Districts conduct their business and regulates the relationships between ESDs and Emergency Service Providers (VFDs). In the training, the instructors acknowledged that every Emergency Service District is different from all other districts in many ways, but the basic requirements and organizational structure required of each was taught to the attendants.
Also in attendance was Ellis Jones, the Fire Chief of Spurger Volunteer Fire Department, Rowland Priddy, the Fire Marshall of Ivanhoe Volunteer Fire Department, and Robert Nicholson, the Assistant Fire Chief of the Fred Volunteer Fire Department, Tyler County Judge Jacques Blanchette, and Tyler County Emergency Management Coordinator Dale Freeman. Although there is no training credits required or received for their attendance, the information received will be invaluable in assisting the ESDs and VFDs in making their adjustments and transitions to become compliant with the new statutes.
Of the thirty-six (36) persons attending the training, twenty three (23) were from Tyler County. Representing ESD No. 1 (Ivanhoe/Hillister Area) was Del Johnson, Chuck Vonderlin, B.A. Smith, and Richard Coker. Representing ESD No. 2 (Spurger Area) was Pete Perkins and Kevin Watts. Representing ESD No. 3 (White Tail/Shady Grove Area) was Clyde Caldwell and Ron Hensarling. Representing ESD No. 5 (Dam B Area) was James Gunter, Johnny Page, and Larry Walton. Representing ESD No. 6 (Fred Area) was Doug Gore, Roger Harvill, James Alfaro, and Doug Miranda. Representing ESD #8 (Wildwood Area) was Harold Woodrome, Mike McDonald, and Paul Lemke.
Other Tyler County ESD Commissioners received similar training at the SAFE-D State Conference held in Galveston earlier this month. More Training classes were promised in this area in the future.