By Sherrie Norris
During the recent spring conference of the North Carolina Emergency Management Association in Cherokee, Taylor Marsh,
Watauga County Emergency Management Coordinator, received his certification as Executive Level Emergency Manager.
The presentation was made by N.C. Emergency Management Director Michael Sprayberry, and is the highest level of certification offered to emergency management personnel in the state.
Completing the requirements for the certification represents Marsh’s diligence in assuring residents of Watauga County that his office is always willing to stay one step ahead of the next crisis through education and advanced training opportunities.
Also, like larger counties throughout the state, it proves that Watauga County is prepared to effectively handle emergency situations as they arise.
“Watauga County has experienced quite a few emergency events in the past several years, with flooding, wildfires , etc.,” Marsh said, “And with each of those events, and others that will potentially arise, emergency management functions are crucial.”
With each event, also, everything from preparedness to recovery must be documented and done legally in order to receive potential funding from the state or federal government, he added.
“This certification is a way to show that the training and education in all emergency management functions have taken place, and that Watauga County is capable of handling what comes our way.”
Authorized through the Division of Emergency Management, (Dept. of Public Safety NC General Statute 166A, Article 5) the purpose of the certification program is to “strengthen and enhance the professional competencies of emergency management personnel in state and local emergency management agencies.”
The certification process, from training to testing, is lengthy and the criteria intense, requiring 100 hours of emergency management training, in addition to 40 hours of general management training, with recommended additional independent studies and related courses.
In addition to three years’ experience in emergency management, eligible candidates seeking the certification must have three professional recommendations, including that of current and former supervisors, in addition to other local state government and/or national emergency management officials.
Marsh noted, “I think it’s important to note that training and education does not stop at this point. We are constantly receiving education on emergency management trends, issues, and topics across the state and nation.”
Now in his fifth year with Watauga County Fire Marshal/Emergency Management, Marsh has been in his current role as Fire Marshal/Emergency Management Coordinator since January of 2017.
Previously, he worked at Boone and Blowing Rock fire departments and at Watauga Medics as a paramedic. He is the son Boone’s longtime fire marshal, Ronnie Marsh, and his wife Denise. Taylor makes his home in Boone with his wife, Celia, and their two young sons, Harland and Baine.
The NC Emergency Management Association is the professional organization for emergency managers in North Carolina. Each year the association hosts a spring and a fall conference at which participants can come together and learn more about what is happening in the field of emergency management and also build relationships with their peers.
For more information about emergency management on a local level, contact Marsh at The Watauga County Fire Marshal/Emergency Management Office, located in the Watauga County Law Enforcement Center at 184 Hodges Gap Road. Normal business hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.