LIBERTY – Big things are happening regarding emergency preparedness and fire safety, with Liberty County Fire Marshal Bill Hergemueller taking on dual leadership roles in the county.
Hergemueller has served the past six years in the position and will now add to his duties as the Office of Emergency Management Coordinator.
“Opportunities arise on occasion. The opportunity has come up that we can combine two positions and save some money,” County Judge Jay Knight said at a recent workshop.
This will allow both departments to expand their scope and create a new level of communication that commissioners believe is important for the county.
“I’ve been successful with the fire marshal’s office, and that’s how I want to work it with the office of emergency management,” said Hergemueller.
Commissioners met Tuesday and reappointed Hergemueller for another term as fire marshal while he has already begun work at the OEM.
On the fire side of things, Hergemueller believes his assistant chief will bring a solid resume to the table and allow him to work on strengthening the OEM.
“I’ve got a really good assistant deputy fire marshal on Nat Holcomb; he has been with me 20 years,” said Hergemueller.
That office is set to expand with the inclusion of a new fire investigator, a previously unfunded position.
Whoever serves in that role will meet the same hiring standards as those of the LCSO and will work in cooperation with the sheriff’s office.
As for the OEM, there will be a full-time office manager and an assistant emergency management coordinator dealing with emergency disasters in the county.
“We’re going to get really involved with emergency management,” said Hergemueller.
His biggest goal will be communication from that office, not only inside the county but in efforts to get information out to the public.
“Every one of my staff members is going to be there and will get the right information out to the public,” said Hergemueller.
He believes that he will build a team in both departments that work together for the betterment of the county, especially in times of crisis, whether they be fires or public emergencies.
“We are going to build a team,” said Hergemueller.
Knight echoed that philosophy and feels the county has found the right man to lead the way for first responders in those situations.
“Teamwork is an integral part of any first responder type position, and the goal is to have the best team put together that we possibly can for the county. Bill fits this role perfectly to tie the two departments together and give the best support to all first responders,” said Knight.