About The EMA
The Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency is the first line of official public responsibility for emergency management activity in Jefferson County. As such, the EMA is charged with planning efforts for the county. This includes developing and maintaining an ongoing program of mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
The Jefferson County EMA works with local governments, nonprofit organizations and private sector companies in Jefferson County to develop plans and capabilities to respond to hazards which seriously threaten the county.
Jefferson County EMA’s Mission Statement:
“To save lives and protect property by developing programs and emergency operational capabilities that mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from any emergency
Gay Nell White, Administrative Supervisor
Baylee Pope, Emergency Management Officer
Baylee Pope has been employed with Jefferson County Emergency Management since September, 2019.
Baylee’s responsibilities include: Social Media management; Plan Development; Tier II Program Manager; public outreach, overseeing the school emergency notification program, and performing emergency coordination, response and liaison as Duty Officer. Baylee is the Secretary and Public Information Coordinator for the Jefferson County LEPC and the President of the Jefferson County Amateur Radio Club.
Baylee graduated from Jacksonville State University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management with a minor in Public Safety Telecommunications. While at Jacksonville State University, she assisted the Emergency Management Department in creating a preparedness public service announcement video for campus distribution. She also held three internships during her time at JSU with the Calhoun County, Gadsden-Etowah, and the Talladega County EMAs. She assisted Calhoun County EMA with community outreach, creating and editing training materials, training volunteers, and updating the Emergency Operations Plan. During her time with the Gadsden-Etowah EMA, she was tasked with creating literature to be distributed to the general public to educate them about National Preparedness Month, writing press releases, and communicating with stakeholders within the community to foster relationships and collect updated contact information. She was involved with the volunteer mapping program with the Talladega County EMA and assisted with creating online forms to be used for volunteer management.
Baylee has received extensive emergency management training through the Center for Domestic Preparedness, Emergency Management Institute, The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security, and Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service. She is trained to the Hazardous Materials Operations level. Baylee is also a licensed Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) operator. She has earned her FEMA Professional Development Series certificate.
Baylee is a member of the Alabama Association of Emergency Managers and the International Association of Emergency Managers.
James "Jim" A. Coker, Director
Jim was appointed Director of the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency in September, 2014.
Jim’s responsibilities include but are not limited to: coordination of the Jefferson County Emergency Operations Center during significant events; conducts briefings to external groups; communication with staff, Emergency Management Council and others; EMA operating budget; development of the Emergency Operations Plan; inter-agency coordination and cooperation; maintain positive public relations; public awareness of agency capabilities and the use of volunteers during disasters and training.
Jim has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Alabama and a Master’s Degree from Faulkner University; he continues to teach courses as an adjunct professor. He served as an instructor at the State Trooper Academy for 11 years, a program coordinator and instructor for the Alabama Fire College, an instructor for the Alabama Public Safety Leadership Academy, and conducts training for the FBI. He is a graduate of the Alabama Military Academy (U.S. Army OCS) and served in the Alabama Army National Guard. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and achieved certification as a Senior Crime Scene Analyst (IAI) and a Traffic Accident Reconstructionist. He received the District Award of Merit and the Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America. He previously served as the Vice Chairperson of the Red Cross Shelby County Chapter Board of Directors. He is a graduate of Leadership Shelby County.
Jim developed an interest in emergency management in 1974 when, while serving as the Captain of a high school Red Cross Disaster Team, he deployed to the super outbreak of tornadoes which impacted many parts of Alabama, in particular the Guin area.
Jim is a member of the Alabama Association of Emergency Managers and the FBI National Academy Association. He served with the Alabama All-Hazards Incident Management Team from 2007-2014; his last position was Incident Commander for Central Alabama.
Prior to coming to JC EMA, Jim served as a law enforcement officer for thirty-five years working with the University of Alabama Police Department, Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Department, and City of Hoover Police Department where he retired in 2014 as a Captain.
Jim St. John, Emergency Management Officer
Jim St. John has been employed with the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency since May, 2017.
Jim’s responsibilities include: fire department liaison; grants administration; performing emergency coordination, response and liaison as duty officer and training.
Prior to coming to JC EMA, Jim served as the Fire Chief in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, for the last 9 years of a 32-year fire service career. He is retired from the US Army and for 8 years was the director of the Emergency Medical Technician program at Bessemer State Technical College.
Jim holds a certificate from the University of Alabama at Birmingham as a Paramedic, an Associate of Applied Science degree in Fire Science from Jefferson State Community College, a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Safety Administration from Athens State College and a Master of Public Policy and Administration from Mississippi State University, where he was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi and Pi Alpha Alpha honor societies. He is also a graduate of the 4-year Executive Fire Officer program at the National Fire Academy, Emmitsburg, Maryland. Jim is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Emergency Management at Jacksonville State University.
Jim is a FEMA Professional Continuity Practitioner and Master Exercise Practitioner. He is recognized as an Advanced Level Emergency Manager, is an Alabama Certified Public Manager, a graduate of Leadership Vestavia Hills, a Paul Harris Fellow of the Vestavia Hills Rotary Club, a past president of the Alabama Association of Fire Chiefs and sits on the Hoover Mayor’s Veterans Committee. In 2020, Jim received his Certified Emergency Manager designation through the International Association of Emergency Managers.
Jim is a member of the Alabama Association of Emergency Managers.
Chris Tate, Emergency Management Officer
Chris Tate has been employed with Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency since October 2017.
Chris’s responsibilities include: CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Coordinator/Instructor; Management of the outdoor warning siren system; Website management; Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (Drones) program management; IT and communications systems management; School district liaison, and performing emergency coordination, response and liaison responsibilities as Duty Officer. In addition to his duties at JCEMA, he is member of the Alabama School Safety Task Force, and sits on the board for the Alabama Association of Emergency Managers (AAEM).
Chris Tate, a native of Hoover, Alabama, graduated from Auburn University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Aviation Management. He also holds a Masters of Public Administration degree with a concentration in Emergency Management from Jacksonville State University. In 2014, Chris was among the first of a group of peers to receive the Alabama Association of Emergency Managers’ Masters Level Emergency Manager Certification. In 2020, Chris received his Certified Emergency Manager (CEM®) designation through the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM).
Prior to Jefferson County, Chris worked at the Lee County EMA for ten years. While at Lee County, he was also an Adjunct Instructor of Public Safety with the Chattahoochee Valley Community College. He is a Pro-Board-Certified Volunteer Firefighter and Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician. He has worked as an EMT for East Alabama Emergency Medical Services for 6 years, served as a Reserve Police Officer with the Opelika Police Department for 5 years, volunteered as a Firefighter/EMT for 7 years with the Beauregard Volunteer Fire Department, and prior to that, Smiths Station Fire & Rescue, and served as the Squadron Commander of the Auburn Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol, for eight years.
Chris has been an active member of the Civil Air Patrol since 2001, and has obtained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. During his tenure as the squadron commander of the Auburn unit, he was awarded decorations including the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, Exceptional Service Award (2nd Award), Meritorious Service Award (3rd Award), Commander’s Commendation (6th Award), Disaster Relief Ribbon (V Clasp, 3rd Award), Leadership Ribbon (7th Award), National Commander’s Unit Citation (2nd Award), National Emergency Services Ground Team of the Year for the Auburn Composite Squadron in 2010, and was named the Senior Member of the Year for the Alabama Wing for 2012.
From 2006-2016, Chris coordinated the Wreaths Across America event at Fort Mitchell National Cemetery. Each December, thousands of volunteers help place thousands of live wreaths on the headstones of our heroes buried at Ft. Mitchell with the mission to Remember, Honor, and Teach.
Chris has been the recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award, and in 2012, was awarded the Lifetime Award, also known as the President’s Call to Service Award.
Through volunteerism and other emergency services work, Chris has deployed to or participated in many major disasters the southeast has faced since 2005 including Joint Task Force Katrina, Joint Task Force Rita, Deep Water Horizon-Gulf Oil Spill, the April 2011 Tornadoes, and more recently, the March 3rd, 2019 tornado in Lee County.
Matthew P. Carrier, Emergency Management Officer
Matt Carrier has been employed with Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency since December 2017.
Matt’s responsibilities include planner and liaison for ESF 6 - Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Housing, and Human Services and liaison to the Jefferson County VOAD and serves on the United Way AIRS committee and Long-Term Recovery Group. Matt is also the ESF 8, Public Health and Medical Services planner and liaison and serves on the Jefferson County Health Care Coalition Leadership Team and UAB Emergency Management Committee. Matt also supports ESF 7 Logistics and ESF 11 Agriculture and Natural Resources as planner and liaison, Additionally, Matt performs emergency coordination, response, and liaison as Duty Officer.
Prior to coming to JC EMA, Matt was the Disaster Program Manager for the American Red Cross, Mid Alabama chapter, covering 10 counties including Jefferson. Matt has broad experience in disaster preparedness, response and recovery operations locally and across Alabama. He also has disaster operations experience in New York having responded to Super Storm Sandy as the Mass Care-Logistics Liaison and in Louisiana during the 2015 floods where we was the district director for response and recovery operations for 12 Parishes in NW LA.
Matt attended Jacksonville State University where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Emergency Management and Homeland Security and a Master’s degree in Emergency Management.
Matt holds an Advanced Level Emergency Manager’s certification from the Alabama Association of Emergency Managers, of which he has been a member since 2012. In 2016, Matt was awarded the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) accreditation from the International Association of Emergency Managers. He also earned the FEMA Professional Development Series certificate.
Matt is a member of Civitan International and The Birmingham Canoe Club. He and his wife can be found paddling, hiking, and camping around Alabama and the Southeast United States.
Melissa Sizemore, Emergency Management Officer
Melissa Sizemore has been employed with Jefferson County Emergency Management since August, 2018.
Melissa’s responsibilities include: Social Media management; Serves as Agency Public Information Officer; Plan Development; Threat Analysis; Warning Information Management; Geographic Information Systems; Grants Management; Weather Liaison; and performing emergency coordination, response and liaison as Duty Officer and training.
Melissa Sizemore graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Geography with a concentration in Atmospheric Science and a minor in Broadcast Journalism. While at Western Kentucky University she served as a Teacher’s Assistant in the Meteorology Lab and worked alongside WKU meteorology students to teach fundamental meteorology concepts with learning exercises and demonstrations. She was also competitively selected twice by the program to experience and forecast real-time atmospheric dynamics in the Plains, primarily focused on severe convective weather and related phenomena. She currently sits on the Advisory board for the Western Kentucky Meteorology program as the Alumnae Emergency Management Representative and has served on that board since the fall of 2018.
Prior to Jefferson County, Melissa worked for Warren County Emergency Management in Bowling Green, Kentucky for three years. While in Warren County, she rewrote the county Emergency Operations Plan, served as the Public Information Officer, oversaw the bid process and implementation of a mass notification system, developed a search and rescue team serving 120,000 people, and served as a general source for information and updates on the weather for key stakeholders in the county and the South Central Kentucky region. She was also designated as ‘Support Staff of the Year’ in 2017 by her peers in the Kentucky Emergency Management Association which is awarded to an individual doing extraordinary work in the realm of Emergency Management but not in the capacity of a Director or Deputy.
Since arriving in Jefferson County, Melissa continued to gain extensive experience in disaster operations. Most notably, She co-lead of the Jefferson County COVID-19 Unified Command Joint Information Center in concert with the Jefferson County Department of Heath. During the 15+ month activation, she disseminated multiple media advisories, was responsible for constructing bi-weekly press releases, constructed multiple outreach efforts including social media campaigns, and managed multiple press conferences including visits from the U.S. Surgeon General, Governor Kay Ivey, and the FEMA Region IV Administrator. Most recently, she served as the Joint Information Center (JIC) Manager for The World Games 2022, which was the first SEAR 1 event in Alabama’s history. She has also gained experience while coordinating recovery efforts of the Fultondale-Center Point EF-3 Tornado, where she served as EMA Liaison and PIO in the field.
Melissa Currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Weather Association, serves on the Webinar team for the National Weather Association, The Emerging Technology Committee and The Climate, Weather and Water Caucus for The International Association of Emergency Managers, Serves as Special Projects Committee Chair for the Alabama Association of Emergency Managers, and serves on the Committee on Emergency Management, The Weather Band Committee, and the Social Media Committee with in the American Meteorological Society. She has also presented several posters and given several oral presentations at national conferences over topics that include both emergency management and the weather enterprise.
Melissa has received extensive emergency management training through the Emergency Management Institute, The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security, and Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service. She has earned her FEMA Professional Development Series certificate. In 2020, Melissa received her Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) designation through the International Association of Emergency Managers.
Gay Nell White, Administrative Supervisor
Gay Nell White has been employed with Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency since October, 1995. She was originally hired as a Contractor to update the LEPC Tier Twos Reports in October, 1994.
Gay Nell’s responsibilities include: administrative support to the director and staff; financial management, payroll and personnel reports; purchase requisitions for normal operations, contracts and emergency operations; accounts payable and receivables; staff travel and travel reimbursements; LEPC site assessment surveys; filing for Tier Two reports, inventory, grants, safe rooms applications, EMA support documentation and scanning for file achieving; office mail, phone and correspondence; creating tables, brochures, pamphlets and forms; scheduling the Training Room and Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for outside agency use and website updates.
Prior to coming to JC EMA, Gay Nell was a single mother of three with no child support, recently divorced and struggling to provide for her family and temporarily living from her car. With only a High School education and no job, she applied for assistance with the Jefferson County Department of Human Resources (DHR). Through DHR she was provided an education in the administrative field from the West Central Alabama Skills Center in Birmingham, Alabama. Putting her full trust in God to provide a job that would sustain her and her children, she was contacted by EMA to interview as a contractor to complete data entry for the LEPC Tier Two reports. She was hired for the job and has been with EMA ever since.
Gay Nell is a member of the Alabama Association of Emergency Managers.
Sharonda Myree, Administrative Assistant
Sharonda Myree has been employed with Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency since November 2022.
Sharonda’s responsibilities include: administrative support to the director and staff, EMA support documentation and scanning for file achieving; office mail, phone and correspondence; filing paperwork, answering phone calls, preparing documents for meetings, and managing the calendar.
Sharonda attended Miles College where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. In her free time, Sharonda likes spending time with family, giving back to the community and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity Greater Birmingham.
Sharonda is a member of the Alabama Association of Emergency Managers.
Full EM Council Meeting via remote conferencing due to COVID-19 on June 15, 2020