BUCYRUS — The Crawford County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) recently welcomed new director Jette Cander. She may be new to the position, but Cander is no stranger to the EMA organization.
Cander took over at the end of October after serving several years as the deputy director. She is a graduate of Mount Vernon High School in Knox County, attended The Ohio State University and majored in business. She then started working for a large construction company just outside the Galion area.
“I decided to leave there after about 13 years and went to work for Galion Industrial Development where we tried to bring in large businesses kind of like (The Crawford Partnership) does here — economic development,” she said. “I was the deputy director there for about 13 years and the opportunity with the EMA came up and I knew most of the people I would be interacting with so I thought it would be a good fit, so I interviewed and I’ve been here 16 years.
“The director’s position came open and they asked me if I would consider it and I did and I thought it was a good time and a good fit.”
Talking about the EMA, Cander said most people associate the EMA being with FEMA and being the same thing.
“Which it is to a point, but we only see FEMA if it’s a declaration by state and county that they’ll come in. Something like COVID, that’s not our not our disaster, that’s public health, so we kind of follow under them,” she said. “What’s going on with COVID, although it’s a public health event, we’re right there for the health commissioners for what it is they think they might need. I’ve been coordinating meetings, they’re overwhelmed as well, we’re busy, but they’re even busier. We try to do that unified command where everybody has their part and whatever you’re good at we’re going to utilize those skills.”
Cander explained the function of EMA.
“What we are are planners,” Cander said. “We’re kind of tasked with helping communities and organizations anticipate hazards and what their vulnerabilities are and try to undertake measures with them to deal with possible disasters. That worst case scenario. So we do the mitigation part which is kind of like we don’t want this certain thing to happen. We help businesses prepare for, respond to and help them recover from disasters, so planning is the majority of our jobs.
“We have a lot of things that we do, we’re that coordination piece between the agencies, like city to city, fire to fire — we work with our first response community on a day-to-day basis, again helping them with planning. The same thing with facilities that hold chemicals. Our Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) consists of people within the community and the industry and our job is to help plan, in a worst case scenario, if that chemical would leave that facilityand how we would keep citizens safe with that. Public education is a big part of what we do as well.”
With her new position, Cander said she wants to continue to build new relationships.
“My plan is for the EMA to continue in its professional capacity it has had since I’ve been here; it’s a good program and I want to see that program be successful past the time I’m here,” she said. “No program is about a person. My goal is to continue to serve the citizens of Crawford County through agency coordination, planning and assuring our citizens are prepared.”