In 1980, Alan Radcliffe, current Emergency Management Director, joined the Pomona Volunteer Fire Department when he was just 17 years old. Alan has continued to serve on the fire department and has been the Assistant Chief for over 30 years. He was also one of the Fire Chiefs that helped start the Franklin County Fire Fighters Association. It was his involvement with the fire department that ultimately started his career in public service.
In 1983, Alan became a part of the Sheriff’s Office Reserves, just one month before he turned 21. He then started his career with Franklin County in November 1985, with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office as a jailer and dispatcher. He worked the midnight shift and was in charge of dispatching the one road patrol officer on duty while maintaining the jail. In June 1986, Alan became a part of the road patrol. Alan worked for the Sheriff’s Office until December 1999 in many positions, including the road patrol, the drug unit, and was promoted to lieutenant of the detectives. During that time, he also started Crime Stoppers in Franklin County, the tips hotline that is used to help solve crimes and is still being used today.
In January 2000, Alan’s employment with Franklin County continued. He worked for the Public Works department as a truck driver and then a blade operator. After the ice storm that hit Franklin County in the early 2000’s, the County Commissioners were working through issues presented due to not having a full-time emergency preparedness employee, as well as how to manage the Homeland Security funding, and in 2004 Alan was named Franklin County’s first full-time Emergency Management Director. Along with being the Emergency Management Director, Alan was also appointed the Franklin County Fire Marshall, responsible for managing the burn system and is still fulfilling this role today.
One of Alan’s first projects as the Emergency Management Director was putting up five towers throughout the County and implementing the first UHF-VHF radio system. This was a huge undertaking and the project was highly successful. The towers are still used today and have been majorly upgraded. In 2016, Alan executed updating Franklin County to a statewide 800 MHz communication system that allows emergency response agencies to communicate with each other effectively and seamlessly. This capability helps reduce the response time of emergency vehicles in our area and improves coordination during large area emergencies which frequently occur during severe weather and natural disasters such as tornadoes and floods, as well as multi-responses to fires and hazmat releases.
Since Alan first became a volunteer firefighter back in the 80’s, he has witnessed many hazmat spills, train derailments, weather disasters, and wildfires. During his time as the Emergency Management Director, Alan was deployed to help with disaster aid for the following events:
2005 – Hurricane Katrina, Mississippi
2006-07 – Winter Storms in Southwest Kansas
2007 – Greensburg Tornado
2007 – Montgomery County Flood
2008 – Iowa Floods
2009 – Wichita County Snow Storm
2011 – Reading, KS Tornado
2012 – Hurricane Sandy, Maryland
2016 – Anderson Creek Fire, Barber County
2017 – Starbuck Fire, Clark County
2018 – Rice County Fire
2018 – Eureka, KS Tornado
2019 – Riley County Flooding
If you are ever around him, ask Alan about the stories of some of his experiences. They are truly eye-opening. While serving in Maryland, Alan was recognized by the Governor of Maryland for the role he played while there – including leading a 3 day search and rescue effort of an entire rural County that had been without any power for over 72 hours. Most recently, Alan helped utilize the Public Health Disaster Plan he created to guide Franklin County and the Franklin County Health Department through the COVID-19 Pandemic. The preparedness of Franklin County Emergency management has played and continues to play a huge role in Franklin County’s successful testing operation, vaccination operations, and overall management of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Franklin County is super proud of the impact Alan has had on Emergency Management not only statewide but also nationally. He leaves a legacy of 41 years of serving the citizens of Franklin County including his volunteer, reserves, and employment roles. You will truly be missed, Alan!