City welcomes emergency manager to help meet safe community goals

Published on September 23, 2019

Photograph of Allison Farole, emergency management administrator

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The City of Grand Rapids has a new emergency manager as part of its strategic plan priority of a safe community. Allison Farole today assumes the role of emergency management administrator after a nationwide search to fill the newly created position.

The full-time position was part of City Manager Mark Washington’s proposed fiscal year 2020 budget that was approved by the City Commission in May. Previously, emergency management activities were led by the fire chief on a part-time basis. Fiscal year 2020 runs July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020.

In her new role, Farole will administer and oversee City emergency management programs and functions as a member of the Grand Rapids Fire Department. Specifically, she will: 

  • Administer and coordinate programs, supplies, equipment, training, budgetary funds and community engagement
  • Provide guidance and assistance to planning committees and local agencies with regard to emergency preparedness
  • Develop and update emergency plans on preparedness, response and recovery for all possible disasters that could affect the city
  • Conduct simulated disaster exercises
  • Assist in the development and operation of the City's emergency operations center and warning systems

“After a nationwide search with some extremely qualified individuals, I am confident we have the emergency manager who will move our emergency preparedness in a positive direction,” Fire Chief John Lehman said.

Farole spent the past six years as the emergency management coordinator in Albemarle County, Va. During her tenure in Albemarle County’s emergency management office, which serves three jurisdictions, Farole developed, coordinated and facilitated emergency management-related operations plans and training opportunities for Charlottesville-University of Virginia-Albemarle regional stakeholders. She activated and managed the Albemarle Regional Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and coordinated all planning, response and EOC operations for plane and train crashes, brush fires and large-scale free speech events.

“Emergency management is not only a career but a passion of mine,” Farole said. “In this new role, I 
will work to engage the local community and collaborate with a variety of stakeholders – all while enhancing and perfecting the unique culture of the service we provide to our community. As the emergency management administrator for the Grand Rapids Fire Department, I plan to utilize my experience, knowledge and passion for emergency management.”

Farole has a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of La Verne,  a master’s degree in public administration from Virginia Commonwealth University and a graduate certificate in homeland security and emergency preparedness. She is a graduate of the FEMA Basic Emergency Management Academy. 

She was named the Virginia Emergency Management Association’s 2019 Emergency Management Professional of the Year. She also earned the National Research Center’s Voice of the People award in 2018 for transformation in safety, Disaster Services Hero designation from the American Red Cross and Executive Director Leadership Award from the Albermarie County Emergency Communications Center.

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