EMA assistant learning about weather, job

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 14, 2003

Getting the weather takes more than just turning on the television. That’s something Pam Cook is learning fast.

Cook, the new administrative assistant with the Dallas County Emergency Management Agency, started working Oct. 20. It’s been full-throttle ever since. On-line schooling, print-outs of study materials and a class this past Wednesday are just a few items Cook’s been juggling since starting.

As administrative assistant, Cook types County Commission minutes as well as resolutions for the commission. &uot;Like if the commission wants to honor someone,&uot; Cook said. &uot;And of course that’s fun.&uot;

Her boss, EMA Director Brett Howard, serves as the commission’s clerk.

But dealing with commission business is just one duty on Cook’s plate. She also handles the EMA office’s correspondence.

Learning about weather fills the rest of her plate.

Cook is currently studying about hazardous weather on-line. On Wednesday she attended a class about emergencies, along with a number of other representatives from EMA’s across the state.

Cook already has the weather basics in the bag. Currently, she’s learning about which agencies to contact depending on the emergency.

A weather radio sits near Cook’s desk, and her computer displays information from the National Weather Service. Throughout the day, she tracks weather patterns and relays pertinent information to Howard.

The weather radio sits at the ready broadcasting information EMA employees may need. For example, on Wednesday the service relayed a freeze warning for north Alabama. Not exactly important for Selmians, but an announcement about dry conditions, which could cause fires, could be.

Luckily, Cook hasn’t been called into work for an emergency yet, but it’s a possibility. The next tornado could see Cook manning the phones in the EMA’s office in the basement of the Dallas County Courthouse Annex.

While not native to Dallas County, Cook has lived in the area for 16 years. Her husband, Ray Cook Jr., is a native Selmian, and she moved to the area after marrying.

Cook has two children &045; Shannon Pierce, 23, and Andy Cook, 14.