Daniel Cole

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 16, 2009

Daniel Cole shows the certificates and plaque he earned by working toward certification as a Miss. Certified Emergency Manager. The Panolian photo by Billy Davis

Cole earns state certification for emergency management 

By Billy Davis

Daniel Cole, who leads Panola County Emergency Management, is one of 35 individuals in Mississippi to gain a coveted state certification.

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Cole, 34, is now a Mississippi Certified Emergency Manager after undergoing a two-year process through the Miss. Civil Defense Emergency Management Association (MCDEMA).

The four-step process prepares the applicant for professional management of both man-made and natural disasters. Hazardous materials training, incident command training, firefighting and law enforcement training, and floodwater rescue are among the courses that award points to Cole and other applicants who complete the work. 

“It’s not an easy task. You can’t walk in off the street,” Beth Johnson, who chairs the MCDEMA Certification Panel, said of the certification process.

Johnson said no more than 35 Mississippians have completed the certification. Most of them work in emergency management, though others serve on fire departments, or in law enforcement or in state government.

Beyond the training courses, the main purpose of the certification is to instill professionalism in the state’s emergency management offices, she said.

Cole was working as a Batesville firefighter when he was hired by county supervisors as deputy director of Panola County’s civil defense office. He most recently was moved into the manager’s slot after the death of longtime director William “Son” Hudson on September 26.

Johnson said she believes the biggest challenge of the certification process is balancing time-consuming requirements with the daily tasks of an emergency management office.

“A lot of cross-county work and volunteer work is required, and that takes up a lot of time,” she said. “It’s not just what you do on paper. It’s the hands-on work that you do, too.”

 Cole received a plaque that announced his certification last November in Natchez, when MCDEMA convened for its mid-winter conference.

Cole, a South Panola High graduate, is married to the former Christy Aven. They have a two-year-old girl, Aven.