Someone You Should Know: Man Behind Emergency Management

SIOUX FALLS, S.D – Emergency managers in counties and cities all over the region have been earning their paychecks this year. They’ve been dealing with everything from flooding to damaging winds to tornadoes. In Sioux Falls, the man managing the city’s safety says the key to his job is surrounding himself with good people. That’s why we think he’s someone you should know.

Regan Smith doesn’t work your typical 9-to-5.

“Long, long stressful days without much sleep,” he says.

He’s the emergency manager for the city of Sioux Falls and his job has a lot of parts to it.

“Mass casualty, sheltering, debris clean-up, recovery, you know, bringing utilities back,” Smith adds.

His resume is no joke. 15 federally declared disasters, 5 tornados in South Dakota, local response to the September 11th attacks, Hurricane Katrina evacuation, but one thing that really sets his job apart? He’s always on duty.

“You can be having Christmas dinner with your family, and you get that call, and you just immediately drop everything and you go and deal with it,” Smith says.

The premise of his job seems easy…

“Bring everybody together so we can address that as a team.”

But it’s not that simple…

“And it might take hours, or it might take days, to resolute it and recover and bring the community back to normal.”

Smith often sees people on the worst day of their life. It’s emotionally taxing, but the community is enough to keep him going.

“Born and raised here, I’m a native to Sioux Falls. I think it’s the greatest place ever to live,” Smith says.

Smith’s job isn’t easy, but he likes the road less traveled.

Smith says that the tornado last week in Sioux Falls felt more personal than the others. He knew people directly impacted.

 

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