Ruben on the Road: Cimarron County OEM providing resources to first responders

Published: Sep. 4, 2023 at 10:38 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 4, 2023 at 12:41 PM CDT
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BOISE CITY, Okla. (KFDA) - Ruben heads to Boise City where he learns how Cimarron County Emergency Management is providing resources to first responders.

Lea Lavielle, director of Cimarron County Emergency Management, says Emergency Management basically coordinates for all of the emergency responders in the county and is also the liaison for the county. Any type of resources that they may need, whether it’s the sheriff’s department, EMS, fire, they try to get those resources.

“We rely heavily on the emergency management director to be able to find U.S. grants for equipment, for training, anything that will better us that we can’t get funding for,” said Sheriff James Taylor.

Lavielle says they operate strictly off of donations and operational grants, which are small. One of the things she comes in to do is help get other grants.

“A lot of our firemen didn’t even have any protective gear to go out on fires. We didn’t have a lot of training in our area, so getting grants to help provide that equipment — the communication pieces, radios, to be able to provide the training to respond to those so that they can come home to their families,” said Lavielle.

Sheriff Taylor says it’s vital because a lot of it is FEMA-based or things that only an emergency management director can get a hold of those funds for them.

“And it also takes just one less stress off of our back that we have to worry about. We have someone else that we can lean on, be like, ‘Hey, we need some funding for this,’ ‘Can you see what you can do for grants that are directed out toward this type of interest for each department?’ whether it be fire, EMS, law enforcement,” said Sheriff Taylor.

One of the reasons emergency management gets first responders the best equipment they possibly can and they’re working in that direction is because they have 1,842 square miles in Cimarron County, says Lavielle.

Laveille says there are 6 departments, each with 10 to 15 people who are volunteers, that are covering a huge section of that.

“So they have to get from their job to where they need to be and that truck needs to start. That gear needs to be dependable, so we need to make sure that we have dependable equipment so that we can get out to the citizens who need our help,” said Lavielle.