Michael Palmer

Michael PalmerMichael Palmer has been the Director of the Cynthiana/Harrison County Emergency Management Agency since January 14, 2003. Mike has been assoiciated with the agency for many years, and has worked under the leadership of two previous directors.

A short biography of Mike and his service to the community appeared in The Cynthiana Democrat in 2003.


Palmer turns hobby into career

A hobby that began when he was a teenager has carried one man into a career of emergency service.

Mike Palmer, 43, was 16 or 17 years old when a group of citizens got together to form Harrison County REACT. The tornado of 1974 had just swept through the county. In its wake was found a need for an emergency response team. Hence the birth of REACT.

That was Palmer’s first taste of public service.

“I always like to be able to help out.” Palmer said of his new role as director of Harrison County’s Emergency Management Agency. “If something happens, I like to go see what I can do.”

Palmer took the helm of Harrison County’s EMA last year when friend and neighbor David McGuffin stepped down. Until that time, he worked as a volunteer. Now the role has changed, McGuffin is one of nine volunteers, whom Palmer can call upon in an emergency.

EMA is called out by central dispatch, which works out of the Cynthiana Police Department, for such emergencies as storms, drownings, bus wrecks, chemical spills, snow and ice storms, missing persons and floods.

Palmer has a number of temporary shelters throughout the county that can be activated with a telephone call.

Palmer, a 1979 HCHS graduate, served with the Army National Guard for 23 years. He worked 14 years for Food World as stockman and assistant manager. He has worked with Brown’s Ambulance Service and with the Harrison County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad for the last five or six years.

Harrison County and Cynthiana has benefitted from Palmer’s expertise in seeking out grants.

The city and county have recently received equipment and supplies through a two-part Homeland Security grant that amounted to nearly $83,000. They will receive chemical suits, ventilation saws, thermal imaging cameras, gas masks, infrared binoculars and spill kits. The Cynthiana Fire Department will also receive a portable cascade, which will allow firefighters to fill air tanks on a fire scene.

He is hoping Cynthiana Police Department and Harrison County Sheriff’s Department will receive a $540,000 grant that will put mobile data terminals in cruisers.

One of the first grants EMA received was $7,500 stipend for rewriting the county’s emergency operations plan, which Palmer said took about one and half years to complete. Later that was boosted with a matching grant that enabled Palmer to purchase a 1999 Tahoe for EMA.

He has equipped the vehicle with supplies needed in any given situation in the field – maps, notebooks, batteries, flashlights, camera.

Palmer credits the late David Mattox with getting an Emergency Management Agency in Harrison County as well as having been instrumental in the founding of REACT.

EMA volunteers are McGuffin, Doug McCarty, James McCarty, Kevin Florence, Ralph Jones, Jamie Eubanks, Gina Craft, Dale Cook, and Jeremy Palmer.

Palmer and his wife Betty have two children, Jeremiah, 22, and Rebecca, 19.

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