Brown new emergency coordinator

Former Deputy Fire Warden named as new county Emergency Coordinator


Following John Zeiger’s stint as Carbon County Emergency Coordinator (CCEC), a familiar face has stepped in for the interim. Ron Brown, who has served as the Carbon County Deputy Fire Warden since November 2015, was appointed the same day Zeiger vacated the position.

According to Carbon County Fire Warden John Rutherford, while that position could be left vacant until a replacement is found, it isn’t in the best interest of the county.

“It actually can be left vacant, but it poses problems if a county chooses to do that. They get really far behind and there’s deadlines on certain things that Homeland Security requires, which is stair-step down from the federal level. So, the feds mandate to the states that certain things will be done, then the states mandate to the county certain things will be done,” said Rutherford. “So, by leaving a position like that vacant, progress really stops in getting the deadlines met for certain documents. We really aren’t prepared to allow that to happen when somebody has to step up and keep things going forward and meet those requirements set forth by the feds and by the state.”

Rutherford expects the position to be filled within three months, though admits that the timeline could be shorter or longer. Before advertising, a job description will have to be developed along with pay range and a decision on whether the position will be full-time, three-quarter time or part-time. When the position is advertised and applications are received, Rutherford will begin the interview process.

“Most likely, what will happen, is (that) I will put together an interview group. The way I always try to do it is, I will have the subject matter experts. So, I will ask an emergency manager from another county to sit on that board, I’ll look for other emergency services—maybe law enforcement, maybe fire—and I’ll create that board so there’s no preference, that they’re actually looking at the applicants based upon the job description that is developed for that position,” Rutherford said.

In the meantime, the county fire warden is confident that Brown will do well as the interim CCEC, though he will have some challenges ahead of him.

“Ron was my recommendation to the commissioners to fill the position in the interim. Ron has a strong background in fire, he has a strong background in incident command system. He is qualified in the State of Wyoming Wildland Red Card System. He’s qualified as a task force leader, amongst other things. He’s an engine boss. So, he has a firm grip on the incident command system and emergency management,” said Rutherford. “Where Ron will have some challenges is going to be the requirements from Homeland Security. So, all of the requirements that they have, there’s processes, developing the data that goes into their documents. That’s going to be challenging for Ron because he’s been a part of that through the local emergency planning committee, but he’s never really been the organizer. Nor have I.”

Fortunately, Brown won’t have to go about it alone. According to Rutherford, Homeland Security is easily accessible to provide training and support for county level emergency management coordinators.

“Homeland Security is very good about offering assistance, which we will take them up on that offer. It’s not easy. It’s very specific information, very specific data, to develop these emergency preparedness plans for our county,” Rutherford said.

Because of these requirements, Brown has hit the ground running. In a phone call with the interim CCEC on Friday, Brown told the Saratoga Sun that he was working on the Threat Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) for Homeland Security and had also revised Carbon County’s evacuation plan.

Brown stated that, during the Ryan Fire in late 2018, he had seen some gaps in the plan that he wanted to see closed. That plan now sits on the desk of Carbon County Attorney Ashley Mayfield-Davis before it goes to the Board of Carbon County Commissioners.


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