What does Disaster Emergency Services (DES) do?

Emergency Operations Planning for all hazards Natural hazards such as: floods, wildland fires, storms, tornadoes, earthquakes, and drought. Other disasters such as: mass casualty incidents, terrorism, civil disorder, hazardous materials accidents, and public health incidents. Performing risk analysis to help develop disaster resistant communities and fulfill the functions of homeland security. Coordination of the enhanced 9-1-1 program, including rural addressing, mapping, road signage and telephone/address database management. Coordination of the pre-hospital emergency medical services planning, training and county wide mutual aid response. One of the main components of this function is the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) courses and support for the county quick response units (QRU's). Coordination of the Local Emergency Planning Committee – which is comprised of representatives from law enforcement, fire, ambulances, hospitals, search & rescue, government, industry, and the public.

9-1-1 and LEPC Approved Meeting Minutes

Debbie Gessaman Ι DES Coordinator

Debbie started out as a first responder before becoming a Deputy DES Coordinator and Assistant EMS Coordinator. She is a native to Chouteau County and a mother of four daughters. When she is not busy with her DES duties, her spare time is spent helping her husband operate the family farm. In approximately 2007 she became an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) for the Volunteer Memorial Ambulance Service of Fort Benton. Her grant writing knowledge helped the ambulance service obtain a portable suction unit and a new ambulance from the MT DOT grant.

Debbie started working for Chouteau County in 2006, helping with many different projects and two disasters, one in 2010 and one in 2011; Presidential Disaster Declaration 1992 and 1996. During these disasters, she worked closely with the Chouteau County Commissioners, FEMA, and Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads (ERFO).

During her years working for the County she has accomplished many things one of the biggest being the rewrite of the County Pre-Mitigation Plan. This plan is required to be updated every five years and usually is updated by contracting the work out. The updated plan was approved by FEMA and the State DES office being one of the only ones approved without being contracted out.

Debbie is the 9-1-1 Coordinator and is on the County 9-1-1 Advisory Board as well as LEPC (Local Emergency Planning Committee), Chouteau County EMS Council, Member of Memorial Ambulance, EMT, Instructor for American Heart Association, and American Health Safety Institute. .

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Contact Info

DES Coordinator
PO Box 459 Ι  1308 Franklin
Fort Benton, MT 59442
Office (406) 622•3027
Cell (406) 949•5448
Fax (406) 622•5781