Charleston welcomes new director of emergency management
CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – The city of Charleston has a new director of emergency management.
Ben Almquist took up his new post on August 8e. Prior to joining the City of Charleston staff, Almquist worked as the Director of Emergency Management for Berkeley County for the past four years.
“It’s a structural change. In Berkeley County, you talk about a larger area, a much more rural area, and less centralized government. Here we have a more centralized government. We also have more people crammed into a smaller area,” Almquist said. “So the challenges are definitely different.”
Almquist said his first task was to assess the department and current operations. To prepare for the potential threat of hurricanes this season, Almquist said he and his team are reviewing the emergency operations plan.
“I am currently meeting with emergency personnel. Get an assessment of what they have done in the past. Any areas they think we can do better. And then implement my own best practices and lessons learned from my previous experience,” Almquist said.
Regarding flooding, the department is analyzing how to improve response and get rid of water faster.
“Trying to prevent flooding, of course, is the ultimate goal. But when this happens, how do we protect citizens? How do we make sure they get the information they need to avoid flooded areas? How can we be sure to limit damaged goods and potential dangers for people? asked Almquist.
Almquist said his ultimate goal is to make Charleston a safer place for the people who live there.
Almquist replaced former manager Shannon Scaff, who city officials said left in June for a new job in Arizona.