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Houston County Courier - Local News

Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company

County Fire Marshal wears multiple hats
Houston County Courier


Jenna Duncan
News Reporter

Nearly everything naturehas thrown to Houston County, David Lamb has been able to handle.As Houston County Fire Marshal, he (or one of his three volunteer deputies) investigatesalmost every fire that happens in the county, and coordinates with state and federal authorities when necessary.Then, as Emergency ManagementCoordinator, he monitors weather activity that could potentially cause disaster in Houston County, and coordinates everything necessary if something does happen, like shelters and points of distribution for free water and ice.“I have a lot of fun doingwhat I do. I hate that my duties are usually at the expense of somebody else’s loss,” Lamb said. “Every time I work a house fire I think, ‘Gosh, I hope my house doesn’t ever catch on fire’ and I think of all the things that I would lose that these people have lost.”He said in the more commonsituations like house fires he’s able to do both of his jobs.While interviewing residentsabout the cause of the fire and their situation as the fire marshal, he can use his emergency management positionto coordinate any help the residents may need, like a hotel room or Red Cross vouchers for clothes and food.Lamb is the first, and only, in Houston County to be an emergency management coordinator.His position was created in 1997 to assist Chris von Doenhoff, who is the director of emergency management and the county judge.“If I was not here, if this office did not exist, everythingthat we do in emergencymanagement is his direct responsibility,” Lamb said. “So in essence, I take care of all the paperwork and other stuff that needs to be done so he doesn’t have to mess with it.”Day to day, Lamb said his biggest function is completingpaperwork, and also tracks weather patterns and constantly watches the Weather Channel.When it looks like severe weather may hit any part of Houston County, he tells the fire departments and sheltersto make sure they are prepared.If severe weather does hit, he coordinates with and gives a recommendation to von Doenhoff to declare a state of emergency, and beginsorganizing services that will be needed.For example, during Hurricane Ike he managed ice and water distribution, placing orders for trucks to bring the correct amount of supplies in from Lufkin.


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