FLATHEAD RESERVATION - CSKT-Lake County Unified Command Center (UCC) The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and Lake County have joined to fight COVID-19 by creating a Unified Command Center, which is authorized to address the coronavirus threat in our community. The Unified Command Center will combine and organize county and tribal resources to be more effective in the prevention of the pandemic. 

Both the Tribal Council and the Lake County Commissioners voted to create the Unified Command Center. Both governing bodies turned over authority to two Incident Commanders to lead the team. Bob McCrea, a veteran firefighter, and Mark Clary, emergency manager for the county, will lead a team made of both tribal and county workers including medical staff, planners, financial experts, and operations managers. 

“We’re stronger together than we are as individual governments,” said Shelly R. Fyant, Tribal Council Chairwoman. “This is the best way to keep everyone in our community safer.” 

Chair of the Lake County Commissioners, Bill Barron, a former Lake County Sheriff, said “Our two great governments are teaming together for the sole purpose of keeping our loved ones safe. So far there’s not been a single reported coronavirus infected person in Lake County but that won’t last much longer. We need to be prepared.” 

The Lake County Commissioners voted to support the Unified Command Center Tuesday and Council passed a resolution authorizing the change Thursday. Team members will now meet daily to plan operations, sort our needed logistics, and smooth over organizational blips. 

Future news releases regarding the COVID-19 response will come from Public Information Officer (PIO) Robert McDonald. 

“We’re blessed with tremendous talent in the Mission Valley,” said Bob McCrea, who regularly works on Level 1 response teams to emergencies. “We have on our team someone who’s worked multiple infectious outbreaks. We’re lucky to have access to experienced and dedicated people.” 

Incident Command Systems and Unified Command Centers support elected officials by taking on specific duties that arise during emergencies. While the Council and Commission members retain full authority, they empower the CSKT-Lake County Unified Command Center to be more nimble in moving resources. The newly created Unified Command Center will also be more effective in qualifying for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding.

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