History / About Us

Today’s emergency management is an updated version of the Civil Defense system that was started during World War II.  From the days of WW II until the end of the Cold War the nations focus was on the threat of invasion and of nuclear attack from the former Soviet Union.  Little was done at the federal or state levels of government during this timeframe to provide relief from the effects of natural disasters.  This focus started to change during the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s as a result of multiple major disasters that occurred across the country that exhausted the resources of many local communities and states.  In 1979, then President Jimmy Carter created the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which consolidated the myriad of federal programs conducted by numerous federal departments that were related to disaster response and management.  FEMA’s approach to disaster management used an "all-hazards” concept that addresses the four functional areas of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.  This approach continues today as FEMA’s mission continues under the Department of Homeland Security.


State and local efforts in regards to emergency and disaster management followed roughly the same timeline as federal efforts.   Bradley County’s first Civil Defense office was located in the insurance offices of Morris Greene who was the local director of Civil Defense from 1959 until 1981.  Other locations for the Civil Defense offices (later renamed the Cleveland / Bradley County Emergency Management Agency) over the years were in the basement of the courthouse and in the basement of the Courthouse Annex.  In December or 1997, the offices of the Cleveland / Bradley County Emergency Management Agency moved to its current location on Guthrie Drive where they are co-located with the 911 Center.  This new facility houses office space, food preparation facilities, bunkrooms, and a state of the art Emergency Operations Center (EOC). 


Cleveland / Bradley County Emergency Management Agency is currently under the direction of Troy Spence who was appointed as the agency's 6th director in July of 2006 after serving as interim director since the departure of Tim Gobble in April 2006.  

History of Directors include:

Morris Greene (May 1959 – December 1981)

Don Gardner (January 1982 – February 1984)

Hal Munck (February 1984 – December 1995)

Jeff Young (January 1996 – November 2004)

Tim Gobble (December 2004 – April 2006)

Troy Spence (May 2006 - Present)

The current staff of Cleveland / Bradley County EMA consists of 4 individuals that have brought a variety of experiences and technical abilities to the agency.  Director Troy Spence joined the staff of EMA in 2002 after service in multiple positions over 20 years with the Bradley County Rescue Squad and has previously held the positions of Fixed Nuclear Facility planner and Operations Officer with EMA.  Jeff Gunter accepted the position of Fixed Nuclear Facility Planner in June of 2006 after retiring from the U.S. Army after 25 years of service and brought with him a unique perspective on the security issues and risk that we face in today’s volatile environment.   Jerry Johnson, who joined the EMA as Operations Officer in November of 2007,  brings over 2 decades of experience in law enforcement and emergency services. He has received training in various fields from criminal investigations, to patrol techniques, to managing the SRO unit for the sheriff’s office. Jerry is also trained as a Hazmat technician, vehicle extrication, and valued experience in leadership and managing resources.  Jerry brings a diverse background and a fresh outlook to the EMA.   Curtis Cline joined the EMA in September of 2011 as Administrative Officer, with years of experience in information technology, accounting, and management. 

The mission of the Cleveland-Bradley County Emergency Management Agency in 2007 is to continue provide the highest level of emergency preparedness to the citizens of Cleveland and Bradley County as they face new challenges presented by the 21st century. Working as inter-agency coordinators in partnership with local, state, federal and private entities, Cleveland / Bradley County EMA will seek to continue to provide comprehensive emergency response, hazard planning, and disaster mitigation services to the citizens of Bradley County and it’s communities through the enhancement of our public education programs, improved relations with the local media outlets, continued compliance with the National Incident Management System and federal and state directives, and ensuring that the citizens of Bradley County are afforded the protection of the many technological advances and tools that are available to the Emergency Management community.  Emergency Management is responsible for the development and implementation of a variety of disaster response plans and procedures.  These include plans that address mitigation activities that are geared toward the reduction of potential damage during a disaster to the actual response guidelines for the entire county during a major event such as severe weather events and technological incidents at Sequoyah and local industry.  Since 2001, homeland security concerns and mandates have also fallen under the purview of emergency management.  


EMA is also responsible for the command and control of all emergency services and responders during the times of a declared disaster.  During a disaster, all emergency operations are coordinated and controlled by departmental representatives through the Emergency Operations Center which serves as a clearinghouse for all information and support resources responding to the affected area.  For day to day emergency response, EMA plays a support role to all of the local emergency services by coordinating and providing outside resources and expertise.

Cleveland / Bradley County EMA also participates in a wide variety of activities in the community such as the Safe Schools / Healthy Students Initiative, the Community Advisory Panel for Olin / Arch Chemicals, and the Local Emergency Planning Committee which is a joint not for profit committee consisting of local business and industry representatives and emergency services personnel. 

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