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Published: Thursday, 3/20/2003

Emergency agency seeks name change


LIMA, Ohio - The Allen County Emergency Management Agency is changing its name to keep up with security changes.

The agency asked county commissioners to change its name to the Allen County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

That is because the Federal Emergency Management Agency is now under the federal Office of Homeland Security, and in the near future won't have the same name. Allen County EMA director Russ Decker said he attended a conference in Washington a few weeks ago and the federal agency asked local entities to change their names to reflect the new office.

“The federal services will remain, but the name will change,” he said. “We're just sort of evolving.”

Local emergency management agencies provide security functions. Allen County, for example, oversees the 911 system as well as the emergency planning committee. It is a lead agency during natural disasters such as snowstorms and tornadoes.

Mr. Decker said this is not the first time the name has changed. It used to be called the disaster services administration, and before that the civil defense agency.

Allen County is the first in the area, and possibly the first in the state, to change the name of its emergency management agency.

Wood County EMA director Eric Larson said nobody has requested the name change and he does not plan to do so.

Neither does Lucas County EMA director William Halsey.

“We do a lot of other things. We handle tornadoes. Natural disasters. Hazardous material incidents. Flooding on the lakes and rivers. Those things are as big or bigger than homeland security,” he said.

“That may seem a strange thing to say, but we handle a lot of things that affect people's lives,'' he said. “If I was going to change it to anything, to be honest with you, I would change it to the old-fashioned name: Civil Defense. It's just that simple - government protecting civilians.''

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