Ford County administrator, Ed Elam, was named the emergency manager two years ago, recently he became a certified emergency manager.

    Ford County administrator, Ed Elam, was named the emergency manager two years ago, recently he became a certified emergency manager.
     "You have 24 months after you are appointed to the position to become certified," said Elam.
     Now that he has his certification, if Dodge City were ever to have a national emergency we would be able to  receive state and federal funding to help recover from it.
     To become certified Elam had to complete a series of classes and submit what he called 'table tops' to the state. According to Elam, a table top is a test or drill in which a scenario for an emergency situation is provided and a plan has to be created in response. Once the table top is completed an 'after action' plan is made to address any weaknesses or issues that came up in the table top.
     "It's a time consuming process," said Elam. "It takes at least six or seven hours just to do one table top. But, it's important so that all the agencies know their roles and responsibilities if the real thing were to ever occur."
     If Dodge City ever were to have an emergency, Elam would coordinate between all the different agencies and organizations to make sure they all know what to do, and are not all trying to use the same supplies.
     "If we had a situation where we had to evacuate, and we have three or four organizations planning on using the city buses, obviously that wouldn't work, so I have to make sure the resources are being used properly, and alternatives are available," said Elam.
     Elam is responsible for getting all the paperwork done, and making sure everything is organized, so all the first responders are free to do their own jobs.
     "Of course we all hope that we never have an emergency like this in Dodge," said Elam, "but now if we do, we're more prepared, and we are eligible to receive state and national funding."
     According to, ICS (Incident Command System) is a standardized on-scene incident management concept designed specifically to allow responders to adopt an integrated organizational structure equal to the complexity and demands of any single incident or multiple incidents without being hindered by jurisdictional boundaries.
     In the early 1970s, ICS was developed to manage rapidly moving wildfires and to address the following problems:
    •    Too many people reporting to one supervisor;
    •    Different emergency response organizational structures;
    •    Lack of reliable incident information;
    •    Inadequate and incompatible communications;
    •    Lack of structure for coordinated planning among agencies;
    •    Unclear lines of authority;
    •    Terminology differences among agencies; and Unclear or unspecified incident objectives.
     In 1980, federal officials transitioned ICS into a national program called the National Interagency Incident Management System (NIIMS), which became the basis of a response management system for all federal agencies with wildfire management responsibilities. Since then, many federal agencies have endorsed the use of ICS, and several have mandated its use.
     An ICS enables integrated communication and planning by establishing a manageable span of control. An ICS divides an emergency response into five manageable functions essential for emergency response operations: Command, Operations, Planning, Logistics, and Finance and Administration.

Reach Julia Kazar at (620) 408-9913 or e-mail her at