Emergency Management was initially established in Storey County in the 1980s. However, due to the county size and functions, it existed as a division of the Storey County Fire Department under former Fire Chief Mike Nevin and subsequently under Fire Chief Gary Hames.
In 1992, when the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was established, which instituted the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) process, the Storey County Emergency Management team was formed. Originally, the LEPC was tasked solely with Hazmat situations. With the further establishment of the Quad County Hazardous Materials Response Team (which includes Storey, Carson, Lyon & Douglas counties), Emergency Management's duties were expanded.
As the Storey County Fire Department continued to evolve, adding personnel and equipment, some of the responsibilities of the County Fire Chief began to expand beyond his scope. In 1996, the Virginia City District Volunteer Fire Chief, Joe Curtis, became the county representative to the Quad County Hazmat Response Team administrative committee.
After the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the LEPC was tasked (by the Feds and the State) with many new functions involving federal grant applications, grant administration for public safety, establishment of comprehensive emergency operations plans for the county, and numerous other duties that were handled by the County Fire Chief. The events of 9/11 placed heavy demands on the County Fire Chief, so in order to gain assistance in dealing with various aspects of the emergency management function and the LEPC, the Virginia City District Volunteer Fire Chief was asked to chair the LEPC. This marked the beginning of a separate division within the Fire Department, which became Emergency Management in 2006.
The Storey County Fire Chief, Gary Hames, then established an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) function which has been expanded upon since then to involve all of the various county functions that are necessary to a fully function emergency operations center which provides coordination of county wide emergency responses in major disaster type events.
The EOC, which first began functioning in the Fire Department kitchen has evolved and expanded to operate out of the Department Training Facility next door to Fire Station 1 in Virginia City. Phone lines, computer lines, remote radio dispatching capabilities and other aspects of a proper EOC were put into place and tested. Storey County now had its first, fully functioning EOC capable of accommodating any necessary officials and dealing with major emergencies. This function continues to improve as necessary.
As FEMA expanded its operations and began offering grant monies to local agencies, Joe Curtis, the LEPC Chair/Volunteer Chief took on the necessary grant writing and administration duties on a volunteer basis. By 2002, he was given a monthly stipend to assist with the costs of attending various county and state meetings on emergency management matters.
County Emergency Management responsibilities continued to expand as demands were placed on the county by the State Department of Emergency Management and FEMA, and as grant applications became more extensive and time-consuming. However, this was still being done primarily on a volunteer basis, even though nearly $1.5 million in federal grant dollars had been secured for public safety in Storey County.
During the winter storm season of 2004/2005 that led to THE SECOND TIME a federal disaster declaration HAD BEEN DECLARED for our region, the LEPC Chair/Volunteer Fire Chief was charged with overseeing all coordinative efforts relating to the command, operations, recovery, mitigation and administrative activities. Thus in 2005, Fire Chief Gary Hames officially turned over the Emergency Management reigns to the current LEPC Chair/Volunteer Fire Chief, Joe Curtis. They continue to work very closely to ensure the customers (citizens) receive the best possible emergency managment activities that can be provided.
At the end of December 2005, and in the first few days of 2006, Storey County, along with other areas in northern Nevada, suffered costly and damaging flooding along the Truckee River and its tributaries within Storey County. Again, (AND FOR A THIRD TIME) the region was declared a disaster area, and Emegency Management became HEAVILY INVOLVED IN THE OVERSITE OF all aspects of the disaster mitigation and recovery effort. This event was immediately followed by another similar flooding event just one month later, which threatened to further damage portions of the county. Emergency Management was asked to step in, even though it was still being handled largely on a volunteer basis.
Shortly thereafter, Storey County Fire Chief Gary Hames proposed to County government that an Emergency Management division be formally established with Storey County. On March 15, 2006, the County's Emergency Management division was officially created as a half time position with Joe Curtis appointed as Director of Emergency Mangement for Storey County. After 30 years in law enforcement and concurrent involvement with the volunteer fire service as well as an intimate knowledge of all aspects of Storey County, his background was well suited for assisting in this function for the County. With the growth of Storey County the Emergency Management function has evolved into a full time Department within County government. In July 2010, Cherie Nevin joined the Emergency Management team as the Assistant Director.
Today, when emergencies arise, Emergency Management works jointly AND CLOSELY AND EFFECTIVELY with all Storey County agencies to respond to and mitigate the effects of all type of natural or man-made events or disasters.