Brad Thomas is taking advantage of recent time spent in the classroom to improve Crawford County’s disaster readiness procedures.

Last year Thomas, the county’s Emergency Management director, and his peers from across the state were given the opportunity to complete five classes in one year, a process that would normally take five years. The classes offered ideas Thomas plans on implementing as a benefit to the county’s residents during an emergency.

The Emergency Management Basic Academy, held in Jacksonville, was sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Emergency Management Institute (EMI).

“This would normally take me five years to get that training because I can only take one class at EMI a year,” said Thomas. “That’s what they pay for, one class a year through the state training officer and they approve you for one class a year. So, when we found out about this a few of us jumped all over it because we really wanted it. We’ve been asking for training – we want to get all the training we can – so the state brought FEMA to us.”