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Almost Two Years As Dothan - Houston County Emergency Management Director - Chris Judah

Rickey Stokes

Viewed: 2635

Posted by: RStokes
[email protected]
Date: Dec 01 2019 8:44 PM

DOTHAN - HOUSTON COUNTY:   In late 2016 Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver, Houston County Commissioners Curtis Harvey, Doug Sinquefield, Jackie Battles and Brandon Shoupe unanimously hired Chris Judah as Dothan - Houston County Emergency Management Director.

The former Dothan - Houston County Emergency Management Director, Steve Carlisle, was retiring.

When the sitting 2016 members of the Houston County Commissioners hired Chris Judah they charged him with working with the volunteer fire and EMS throughout Houston County and improving the relationship with the Dothan Fire Department.

The night before Chris Judah was to officially take the reigns of Emergency Management Director a deadly tornado struck Houston County. Four people lost their lives in Rehobeth when a tree fell across their residence.


Chris Judah came as Dothan - Houston County Emergency Management Director with a great deal of experience. A former Dothan Police Officer with experience in law enforcement, training, fire, EMS and as a business man, Chris Judah was hit with a major event, but had never been brought into the Dothan - Houston County Emergency Management Office to know what equipment was there and protocol.

Houston County Sheriff Donald Valenza has been with the Sheriff Department since 1979. In August 2014 Valenza was appointed as Sheriff on the resignation of Sheriff Andy Hughes. 

EMA Director Chris Judah, Sheriff Donald Valenza, Houston County Commissioner Doug Sinquefield, Rehobeth Volunteer Fire and Rescue and others from across Houston County rolled their sleeves up and went to work.

The night the tornado struck Houston County,  Chris Judah saw the importance of the Volunteer System all across Dothan - Houston County, the caring and compassionate service they brought to the table and the caring and servant attitude of the entire community.

And from the night before Chris Judah "officially" became Dothan - Houston County Emergency Management Director until present, Chris Judah has worked to be proactive in being prepared. Passionate about his role and responsibility as Emergency Management Director, and a servant attitude of working hand in hand with everyone in Dothan - Houston County.

Judah works with all, those paid and those who volunteer. All are equally important professionals and someone's pay status does not matter. It is their servant attitude to the citizens.

Some think of Emergency Management only during weather. Some think Emergency Management is only a resource. Some think Emergency Management is not to be in the field, only sit in the office.

But someone in Alabama Legislature named the agency EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT.

That definition did not come as a weather watcher, or someone to sit and do nothing. That definition came as someone to build networks, build relationships, to know where to pull things from which are needed by emergency responders.

Relationship building means standing next to a volunteer and/or a paid fireman helping fight a fire or a volunteer and/or a paid EMS and fireman in cutting someone from a wrecked vehicle. That relationship building comes with knowing where to find a resource needed by emergency responders and being able to get that resource.

Emergency Management means getting known in the community as someone to call and ask questions, being accessible to the public, and being dependable to help everyone who serve the public.

Dothan - Houston County Emergency Management Director Chris Judah will dress in coat and tie and mingle with groups, dress in blue jeans and mingle with groups, dress in turn out gear and fight a fire. He meets with people on top of the ladder and on the bottom of the ladder, and all points in between.

EMA Director Chris Judah sits on the City of Dothan - Houston County Communications District Board ( 911 Board ), and is ending his second consecutive year as President of the Houston County Volunteer Fire Chief's Association.


Across Alabama different definitions for Emergency Management. In 67 counties different functions of Emergency Management. The Alabama Code gives a definition that is interpreted different ways.

In Dothan - Houston County, EMA Director Chris Judah has made Emergency Management what it needs to be in order to serve the most important people - the citizens. 

The Dothan - Houston County Emergency Management is a office to stand in the gap to provide resources and labor to save lives.

Dothan - Houston County Emergency Management does not normally command a scene. But often times across the county assists in response making sure the right resources are rolling to the scene that might be needed. 

Emergency Management Director does not make a handsome salary. Judah is a sworn Law Enforcement Officer through the Houston County Sheriff Department. He takes his job very serious and is a great asset to the citizens of Dothan - Houston County.

A little video showing different activities of the Dothan - Houston County Emergency Management Office. Judah is supported by a staff of three but with many volunteers.

Serving as Deputy Director is Leigh Martin, Administrative Assistant Kathy Turner, and a Field Services Liasion. 


EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT. The preparation for and the carrying out of all emergency functions, other than functions for which military forces or other federal agencies are primarily responsible, to prevent, minimize, and repair injury and damage resulting from disasters caused by enemy attack, sabotage, or other hostile action, or by fire, flood, earthquake, or other natural cause. These functions include, without limitation, fire-fighting services; police services; medical and health services; rescue, engineering, air raid warning services; communications; radiological, chemical, and other special weapons of defense; evacuation of persons from stricken areas; emergency welfare services (civilian war aid); emergency transportation; plant protection; temporary restoration of public utility services; and other functions related to civilian protection, together with all other activities necessary or incidental to the preparation for and carrying out of the foregoing functions.

The organization of local emergency management forces designed principally for operation within their own community but capable of moving to other areas.

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