Ripley County EMA works hard for county, towns

Beth Rumsey, Staff Writer

At anytime day or night, during severe weather or accidents with spills harmful to the environment, the office of the emergency management agency will be called to assist those in need. “I enjoy doing all I can to help people,” said Ripley County EMA Director Wayne Peace.

According to Peace, the EMA works with the towns and local authorities during incidents, coordinating resources within the state. For example, when a car accident or an overturned semi spills materials that can contaminate the surrounding ground, the EMA office will call in IDEM for assessment and help with cleanup.

As director, Peace spends a lot of time applying for grants beneficial to the county and towns. Recent grants received include funds for the 800mghz radios; a tower in Batesville for these radios; and water rescue equipment for the Friendship Volunteer Fire Department.

Grants have also reimbursed overtime wages and materials at the county garage. Past winter storms have had the county road crews working long hours to clear and treat the roads to ensure the safety of the residents of Ripley County.

“I get all the grants I can,” said Peace. Last Friday, March 27 FEMA met with members of the Ripley County Highway Garage, Southeastern Indiana REMC, and other local authorities to fill out applications to reimburse resources used during the January ice storm. According to Peace, the federal government knows that the county and the towns cannot survive without help.

“Some of the towns were reluctant at first,” said Peace. “But, this is a good program for the towns affected by severe weather.”

There have been several changes in the EMA office during the past years. According to Peace, the biggest change is in the local district, with more information and resource sharing with the state.
The Ripley County EMA offers weather spotter classes for the public in the spring. National Incident Management (NIM) training is offered for local agencies in preparation for emergencies. According to Peace, employees of the fire departments, sheriff’s department, local police departments as well as some employees of the highway garage have been through this type of training, which in turn, generates federal dollars.

The RCEMA can be reached by calling 812-689-0505. Since it is a part-time office, Peace advises leaving a message and he or someone from his office will get back to you as soon as possible. Peace recommends calling the Ripley County Sheriff’s Department at 812-689-5555 during an emergency. The dispatch center will then contact the RCEMA. More information on the RCEMA can be found on the web at