Pasco reveals plan to improve disaster response

Posted at 5:58 PM, Mar 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-11 17:58:33-05
Kevin Guthrie said he’s only been on the job as Pasco County’s Emergency Management Director for ten days.
So he doesn’t have all the answers yet.
But he said he will.
“I am confident that with my 25 years of experience. The last 10-12 specifically in emergency management, combined with my deployments that will be effective in our response in the future,” said Guthrie.
Many residents we talked to last summer were less than satisfied with how county officials handled the flooding that came with record rain fall.
“I feel like we are living in a third world country,” said Rudolph Chuites, who’s home on Bass Lake was seriously damaged by flood waters.
Flooding destroyed nearly 50 Pasco County homes in July and August. Hundreds of others were damaged.
“They are called disasters for a reason and there were certainly opportunities for improvement in that,” said Pasco County Administrator Michele Baker.
I asked Pasco’s top official how she felt the county dealt with the flooding and if a new emergency management director was needed.
Previous Emergency Management Director, Anette Doying resigned last year.
“In this instance I think it was time for a leadership change because there were some communication and collaboration issues that we consider important to fix,” said Baker.
Better communication is one of the areas the new director says he’s focused on.
He also said everyone in the EOC needs to know their role.
And he also plans more hands on training.
The first of which is this tornado drill going on Friday. That also involved simulating more flooding.
Pasco’s seen enough of the real thing. But the hope is, if disaster strikes again everyone will be ready.