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Broughton: ‘I knew I wanted to go into emergency management’

Pam Broughton’s passion for disaster relief and emergency planning was forged shortly after she graduated college and volunteered with the AmeriCorps program for two years.

The experience exposed her to practical tasks such as wildland firefighting in the Washington, D.C. area as well as working with the Red Cross in Cincinnati, where she helped develop Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT).

"We did a lot of community disaster education and developed response teams for Hamilton County and the city of Cincinnati," she recalls. "I knew I wanted to go into emergency management."

Broughton, a 2009 graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS), was recently named director of the Clermont County (Ohio) Emergency Management Agency. Broughton previously worked for the Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency and in 2010 was a CHDS fellow with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the nation’s capitol.

During her fellowship, Broughton also drafted strategic planning guidance which will assist state, territorial, local and tribal governments with developing and strengthening homeland security strategic plans for the prevention, protection, response and recovery to natural, technological, and human-caused disasters. Broughton also assisted FEMA’s Grant Programs Directorate with the Fiscal Year 2010 Homeland Security Grant Program Peer Review Process. Her contribution included identifying a cost-effective solution that saved FEMA more than $220,000 and two months of personnel time. Additionally, Broughton assisted with the planning of the 2010 National Urban Area Security Initiative Conference held in New Orleans.

The combination of classroom and hands-on experience has been invaluable. Broughton cites the critical thinking skills nurtured at the Center as well as the interaction with students with diverse perspectives.

"Education is vital to advancement, but it goes hand and hand with experience," she said. "The CHDS education highlighted many practical applications to theoretical concepts and problems. The interaction with my classmates and professors also provided great insight into how other jurisdictions and disciplines handle similar situations. The professional network I have developed through CHDS will continue to be a great resource for dealing with complex and complicated issues."

In her new role, Broughton is responsible for an array of planning activities that apply to the county’s 197,000 residents, 14 townships, 11 villages and two cities.

"Clermont County has always done a fantastic job of coordinating among the townships, villages and cities," Broughton said. "They are dependent on one another for resources sharing and mutual aid. They do a very good job of working together."

The primary task on her agenda is updating the county’s Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan, Emergency Operational Plan and the Emergency Operation Center’s operational plan. Effectively crafting those plans requires maintaining relationships.

"We have a lot of goals that are planning oriented. Development of those plans will take engaging all the cities, villages and townships," Broughton noted.