New emergency manager preps for disaster

Former Yukon firefighter embraces new Canadian County ‘public servant’ role

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Before becoming Canadian County emergency manager on Oct. 8, Josh Davis spent 12 years as a Yukon firefighter and six years as an Oklahoma City ambulance medic. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Josh Davis wants to ensure Canadian County communities are ready for the next disaster – whether it’s a tornado, ice storm, flood, wildlife, or large chemical spill.

“My first and foremost priority is the citizens of Canadian County,” said Davis, Canadian County’s new emergency manager and safety coordinator. “I’m here to support the emergency services.”

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A retired firefighter, Davis has been on the job just over two months now.

“Everybody’s been really welcoming and open to me being in my new position,” Davis said. “It’s a big job, and there’s lots to learn.

“Emergency management is an ever-developing position because it’s so broad.”

Canadian County’s emergency manager coordinates with fire personnel, law enforcement, emergency medical services, local governments, schools, and hospitals.

When a natural or manmade disaster occurs, Canadian County Emergency Management serves as a link to any resources the incident command needs and helps with evacuations.

“We get the shelters for them, we get the equipment for them,” Davis explained. “We help them in any way possible – whether it’s getting bottled water to the scene for their personnel or finding places for the people who have been impacted to go.

“During the times we don’t have emergencies, we’re preparing for those emergencies. We’re making those contacts, building the resource list and connecting everyone; making sure they’re prepared for those disasters.”

As such, Canadian County Emergency Management keeps updated a multi-hazard mitigation plan.

Community outreach is a critical part of disaster response and preparedness.

“When a major incident happens, we’re not going to be able to get to everyone immediately, so we want them to be prepared for that short period of time until we can,” Davis added.

Davis wears a second hat, as Canadian County’s safety coordinator. In this role, he oversees safety programs and training for county employees and county government buildings.

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PUBLIC SERVANT

Davis has an emergency response background. He spent 12 years as a Yukon firefighter after six years as an Oklahoma City ambulance medic.

He had a brief stint as a Ponca City firefighter before being hired at the Yukon Fire Department.

While he “enjoyed every minute” of his fire career, Davis embraced the opportunity to accept this new challenge.

After retiring from the YFD, he considered working in the private sector as a fire investigator.

“At heart, I’m a public servant,” Davis explained. “This role, as emergency manager, is a way for me to give back and still serve the community.”

Canadian County Commissioners hired Davis this summer to succeed Andrew Skidmore as emergency manager and safety coordinator.

“The commissioners have given me the ‘lee way’ to make this my own role, with their guidance,” he said. “They have been great to work with and have given me assistance at every turn.”

Anyone who wants to help Canadian County Emergency Management may volunteer with the Local Emergency Planning Committee.

The Canadian County Emergency Management Office is inside the county’s administration building, 201 N Choctaw in El Reno.

For more information, call (405) 295-6077 or email davisj@canadiancounty.org

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