Effects of heavy rainfall across parts of the county had already awakened first responders early on Friday with reports of rising water and stalled vehicles in the usual areas prone to flooding. Thus, Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jason Ricketson, Hopkins County Fire Chief Andy Endsley and Assistant Emergency Coordinator Kristi Springfield were already on the job on September 20, 2019 before arriving at KSST for a Good Morning Show interview. “Not everyplace enjoys the co-operation from within, that Hopkins County first response teams receive here where we live. From the City and the county law enforcement, to fire and to emergency medical services, we are all a team which works together willingly and smoothly, no matter the need. It might be weather-related, like today, but it’s not always weather. And it doesn’t always happen between 8 and 5! We communicate well, we are trained, and everybody does their job professionally. Local citizens know this and may take it for granted, but the truth is that our community is very blessed to be above the norm in this way”, stated Chief Ricketson.
Fire Chief Endlsey echoed Ricketson’s words, saying “We work well together, and everyone contributes their part according to the protocol of the emergency. Hopkins County and Sulphur Springs have plans in place for almost any emergency you can think of, and these plans can be implemented immediately if and when a disaster situation should take place, or when a situation becomes something we need help to control. My department is responsible for the people and families who live in the small communities as well as the incorporated cities inside the county, such as Cumby, Como and Tira, but we coordinate with the City when needed. Thankfully we haven’t had a major emergency here, but if we did and needed additional help , the State Emergency Management team would be activated, and assistance would arrive quickly from anywhere in the State and even from other states”.
Assistant Co-ordinator Springfield brought up that the public’s safety is ensured during the normal weekly gatherings on Celebration Plaza, at the Friday night football games in the stadium, during holiday parades on the streets, or any number of other community events. “We ensure the public’s safety by the use of a plan. One of the largest events in Hopkins County is coming up soon, during the 50th Anniversary of the World Championship Hopkins County Stew Contest. We expect up to 10,000 people in town and on the grounds for that event. We have a plan in place to ensure the public’s safety, and steps to be followed in case that safety becomes threatened. We are familiar with protocol in any number of scenarios. That’s what we were trained for and what each of us agreed to do when we took on the job”.
Springfield chose her career early, becoming certified for EMS as a senior at SSHS. She then pursued a career in Emergency Management, now with 17 years experience. Jason Ricketson’s father was a Game Warden and his mother was Sulphur Springs City Secretary for many years. His interest in serving led him to become a firefighter with the Brinker Volunteer unit before pursuing a career in law enforcement. He has 23 years experience serving his community. Ricketson’s office also employs City of Sulphur Springs Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator David James, who brings valued experience to his appointment. Chief Endsley brings more than 30 years experience, begun when he entered Fire service after high school as a volunteer in Cass County. He attended the Fire Academy in 1989, and feels it is an honor to be serving in Hopkins County.
Part Four, the final of the National Emergency Preparation Month series, can be heard on Friday September 27, 2019 at 8:15am on KSST Radio and Cable Channel 18 TV.