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Pa. Town Still Seeking Emergency Coordinator

LANCASTER, Pa. -- Sleepy Drumore Township in southern Lancaster County, Pa., may seem like an idyllic farm community, but appearances can be deceiving -- especially when it comes to local disasters, such as flooding from Tropical Storm Isabel in 2003 or evacuation after the nuclear incident at Three Mile Island in March 1979.

And of course, there's always the Peach Bottom Nuclear Plant across the Susquehanna River in York County -- which may be one of the reasons the municipality is having so much trouble finding someone to take over as the township's Emergency Management Coordinator.

At Drumore Township's Feb. 7 meeting, local officials pleaded for a resident to step forward to take over the position, which has been vacant for more than a year.

Calls about the issue to Drumore Township spokeswoman Kim Carter Patterson -- a lawyer for the township who practices with the Lancaster law firm Blakinger, Byler & Thomas -- were redirected to former Drumore Township Emergency Management Coordinator Nancy Carter, who retired from the position.

"In a perfect world, I'd like to see someone take over who has a background in either firefighting or working as an EMT," Carter said Tuesday. "The only requirements are that the person be over 18, and we would prefer that they lived in the township, or at least somewhere in (Lancaster County's) southern end."

Carter, a former EMT with the Providence Township Ambulance Association in New Providence, first began serving as Drumore's Emergency Management Coordinator in 2002. She left the position in Dec. 2006 to focus more on her family.

Carter said former Drumore Township supervisor Ralph McLaughlin has since been filling in on an ad-hoc basis whenever the township has needed emergency management services.

However, as Carter said, "unfortunately, Ralph doesn't have any of the required training" for the job.

"It's the perfect foot in the door for someone interested in getting involved with local government," she said.

Filling the position, Carter said, is becoming a priority for the township, especially since the municipality technically touches the Peach Bottom facility. According to area maps, the dividing line between York and Lancaster counties only begins at the York shoreline, placing the Susquehanna River squarely in Drumore's backyard.

"When it comes to emergencies, it's not a question of 'if,' but 'when,' " Carter said. "After all, it only takes one disaster to make an emergency."

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