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 or disaster.”
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.
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; Social Media and Website management; Small Unmanned Aerial System program management; and performing emergency coordination, response and liaison responsibilities as Duty Officer.
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 is currently working on his Master's Degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Emergency Management at Jacksonville State University.
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 Exception 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.
Additionally for over ten years, 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.
Since 2002, 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 and the April 2011 Tornadoes, and most recently, the March 3rd, 2019 tornado in Lee County.
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. This certification is presented only after an intensive committee review of coursework, professional contributions to the field of emergency management, disaster and emergency management experience, and community service.
Matt 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 to the Jefferson County Dept. of Health for environmental and medical health via the Health Care Coalition; Liaison to the Birmingham EMS Committee; Secretary and Public Information Coordinator of the Jefferson County Local Emergency Planning Committee and Tier II Program Manager for facilities storing hazardous materials in Jefferson County. Matt also serves as the Emergency Management Accreditation Program Manager. Matt is a licensed Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) operator and serves as liaison to the Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) and the Health Care Amateur Radio Club (HCARC). As duty officer, responsibilities include emergency response coordination and alert notifications.
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, across Alabama as well as in other states.
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.
In 2012, Matt earned his Advanced Level Emergency Manager’s certification from the Alabama Association of Emergency Managers. He also earned the FEMA Professional Development Series certificate. In 2016, Matt was awarded the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) accreditation from 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.
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; Plan Development; Updating the Emergency Operations Plan; Weather Liaison; 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. While at Western Kentucky University she served as a Teacher’s Assistant in the Meteorology Lab and worked alongside WKU meteorology students to help 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.
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, brought a mass notification system to the county, 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.
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.
Melissa is a member of the American Meteorological Society, the National Weather Association, and the Alabama Association of Emergency Managers.
Baylee Spoon, Emergency Management Officer
Baylee Spoon has been employed with Jefferson County Emergency Management since September, 2019.
Baylee Spoon 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. 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 also was involved with the volunteer mapping program with the Talladega County EMA and assisted with creating online forms to be used for volunteer management. She is also a licensed Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) operator.
Baylee 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.