Boundary County Emergency Management
P.O. Box 419
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
Boundary County Emergency Management helps mitigate, react to, and coordinate emergency incidents in Boundary County, working closely with local volunteer organizations, law enforcement, and state and federal emergency response agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security.
In recent years, Boundary County Emergency Management has been called into action on many occasions, responding to floods, train derailments and spills, fires, hazardous materials incidents, mudslides and extreme snowfalls, and in all cases their work in assessing the situation, organizing the response and coordinating the efforts of multiple agencies has proven exceptional, minimizing damage and danger to life and property and quickly bringing a return to normalcy following the most critical disasters.
The Emergency Management program is designed to be pro-active; while many critical incidents cannot be foreseen, members stay vigilant to situations which may result in emergencies, and take steps to prevent or minimize the impact before the emergency arises.
Boundary County Emergency Management came about of the old Civil Defense Program, resulting in an established Boundary County Emergency Operations Plan that is used as a guide in managing major incidents. Each year, the plan is reviewed and exercises are held to ensure the plan remains up to date and effective. The Board of County Commissioners administer the Emergency Management program, appointing the director and incident commander and those who serve in the executive group, including the public information director whose task is to keep the public informed of the extent of the disaster, of steps being taken in the response and to keep people informed of emergency measures implemented to protect the public safety.
As in any emergency, the first point of contact is through the Sheriffs Office, and the Sheriffs dispatch center is the focal point for communications with all emergency service providers, including law enforcement, Boundary Volunteer Ambulance, the Curley Creek, Three Mile, Hall Mountain, Bonners Ferry and Moyie Springs Fire Departments and Paradise Valley and South Boundary Fire Districts and with the Emergency Management team. The success of Boundary County Emergency Management has been achieved through the close cooperation of all agencies involved. Local amateur radio operators provide valuable services during emergency situations, and the Red Cross has come through on countless occasions to provide relief to those affected by critical incidents.
Another important factor in the success of Boundary County Emergency Management is the neighbor-helping-neighbor attitude prevalent in Boundary County. In the wake of the most devastating disasters, the people of the community play an invaluable role in easing the burden of those affected, providing assistance and shelter to those in need, bringing food and coffee to those involved in responding to the crisis, and heeding emergency measures imposed by those directing the response.
Interested citizens can take a more active role in disaster preparedness by attending meetings of the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), usually held at 8 a.m. on the first Wednesday each month at the University of Idaho Extension Office, 6447 Kootenai Street in downtown Bonners Ferry behind the courthouse. Tony Rohrwasser, chief of the South Boundary Fire District, chairs the group, and brings in guest speakers who discuss important and interesting topics relating to the community and its response to disasters.