A Warrior Confronts Disaster

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Release date: 
June 8, 2002
Release Number: 
R8-02-07
Photo of Gerald Kanosh

Gerald Kanosh during last summer's tribal Community Emergency Response "Train the Trainer" course.
FEMA photo by Bryan Dahlberg.

Gerald Kanosh never imagined that a break from college would turn into a career. Now he is charged with keeping safe the people and the land of the Paiute Tribe of Utah.

Three years ago Kanosh, like many college students, decided to take some time off from college. He began to look for a job, hoping to be able to find something that would point to a career. The tribe was looking for a candidate for a community coordinator for economic development, and Kanosh turned out to be a good fit.

Very soon after, Kanosh found himself wearing a different hat. Several of them.

The tribe began to see the need to formulate emergency response plans to coordinate the local response in the case of emergencies. Kanosh then took on his next role with the tribe, as the emergency response plans specialist. As he developed two plans for the tribe, Kanosh became more and more interested in the field of emergency management. He enrolled in courses with the Utah Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management (CEM), getting to know Earl Morris, then the director of CEM.

Kanosh said that relationship proved to be vital, as the Paiute Tribe of Utah became one of the first tribes in the country to receive a State and Local Assistance Grant from CEM and FEMA. The tribe used the grant to fund the position of a part-time emergency manager.

Gerald Kanosh put on his third hat with the tribe.

"My love and interest are really in emergency management," Kanosh said.

As the emergency management coordinator for the Paiute Tribe, Kanosh has worked to bring together all the tribal partners in disaster prevention and response - tribal council, band councils and county commissioners - for training in the Incident Command System. With Kanosh's help the tribe has hosted first responder trainings for earthquake preparedness and has coordinated the creation of a Community Emergency Response Team.

"I liken what Gerald has accomplished and is doing to grow his vision for the Tribe to accounts of warriors," said J. Scott Logan, Tribal Liaison and Readiness, Response and Recovery Division Director for Region VIII. "The goals are the same, protecting lives and ensuring the safety of the community. Gerald's training and expertise in emergency management has prepared him to reach those goals in the face of disaster."

Kanosh hasn't stopped with emergency management; he also serves as the assistant environmental director, and he said he has even more plans for the future. "The program is still very young, and we are working hard to get the community involved."

Kanosh and the tribe are investigating the possibility of creating a hotshot team to fight wildfires, saying that there is growing interest among tribal members. He also wants to increase the level of coordination between the tribe and the county to create a ...

Last Updated: 
July 19, 2012 - 23:02
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