County Judge Barry Hyde declared a state of emergency on March 13 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, Pulaski County Office of Emergency Management has been in full swing, keeping volunteer fire departments supplied with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and additional emergency response training.
“We had a stockpile of gloves and R-95 masks, but those went quickly. We were able to get more from the Federal Strategic National Stockpile, but those also went quickly, so now we have more than 4,000 masks and 12 cases of gloves ordered,” County OEM Director Andy Traffanstedt said.
Once received, many of the masks and gloves will go to volunteer fire departments and the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office.
In addition to providing supplies and training, the emergency management staff updates the governor’s office daily with news of cases or developments. They are also in constant contact with the 911 call center and Arkansas Department of Health to collect information. This information is used to create situation reports which are given to the county judge to determine the best course of action moving forward.
Even as the county works through the pandemic, the Office of Emergency Management is on-call 24 hours per day for all matter of emergencies, including natural disasters.
“Disasters and emergencies still happen; the Office of Emergency Management doesn’t quarantine,” Traffanstedt said. “Like the tornadoes in Jonesboro on March 28, we were called out to assist, even during the pandemic.”