Emergency coordinator heads to La. relief effort

Carroll officials also send portable generator to Gulf

September 11, 2005|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Carroll County has sent its emergency management coordinator to Louisiana to help out for a week in response to a plea for administrators in the hurricane-ravaged area.

The county commissioners also will lend a portable emergency generator to the relief effort indefinitely.

William E. Martin left Friday morning, said Vivian D. Laxton, county spokeswoman. He is to return Sept. 19 from Louisiana, where he expects to serve as an administrator in an emergency management center in Jefferson Parish.

Martin, 57, of Finksburg became Carroll's emergency management coordinator in 2003. A former Army sergeant, he is a retired chief officer for the Baltimore City Fire Department, where he served 31 years, said his supervisor, Scott R. Campbell, administrator of Carroll's Office of Public Safety Support Services.

"They needed additional management personnel," Campbell said of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. Requests for help come through his office from the federal and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

Martin's experience includes serving as fire marshal during the 2001 tunnel fire in Baltimore and fielding criticism afterward that the city's chemical-accident plan, which he helped to draft, did not provide an adequate response to the freight-train derailment and toxic chemical spill under Howard Street. That accident also caused a fire that burned for days, a water main break and other hazardous-material spills.

Laxton released a statement from Martin before he left Friday morning: "After almost 35 years of public service, I feel obligated to assist during a time of such human suffering and need. I am comforted by the fact that if the situation were reversed, we would be able to rely on the assistance of the states involved."

The commissioners acted quickly, Campbell said Friday. After Martin received the request Thursday, "in about 30 minutes, we received the request ... we considered and approved it, and Mr. Martin flew out of Martin State Airport this morning."

The commissioners reacted with similar speed in deciding to lend a 500 kilowatt large-capacity, trailer-mounted generator, he said.

"We evaluate every single request that has come out. If it's something we have, we determine whether we can spare it," Campbell said.

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