Emergency Management Director Mel Sadler dies

Emergency Management Director Mel Sadler dies
January 11
04:00 2018

Mel Sadler, the long-time director of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Office of Emergency Management, died unexpectedly early Thursday morning, Jan. 4. He was 69.

The funeral for Mel Sadler was noon on Wednesday, Jan. 10, in Wait Chapel on the campus of Wake Forest University. A public viewing was held from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Mayor Allen Joines said, “Mel was a true professional and was dedicated to the safety and well-being of the citizens of Forsyth County. He was instrumental in equipping our community with emergency preparedness plans so that we would be prepared, no matter the emergency – and then worked constantly to improve them. His tireless efforts often went unheralded, but they were vital to our public safety.”

Council Member James Taylor Jr., the chairman of the Public Safety Committee, said, “Mr. Sadler was the true definition of a public servant who took the safety of our city very seriously. He worked diligently to protect our citizens in the event of critical emergencies and natural disasters. Winston-Salem is a safer place to live, work and relax because of his service to our community.” Taylor is also the publisher of The Chronicle.

Sadler joined the Emergency Management staff on Aug. 24, 1987, as an emergency management officer and was promoted to director on July 7, 1997.

During his tenure, Winston-Salem and Forsyth County became in 2014 the first local governments in the United States to take a new integrated emergency management training course designed to help local officials deal with home-grown terrorism threats and mass-violence incidents. The training involved 72 city and county officials and private-sector health and utilities representatives and was held at the Emergency Management Institute, a federal training center in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

That training led to Winston-Salem receiving a $1.8 million grant last year to address gaps in regional public safety resources that were identified during the training course. It was the largest grant awarded to a local government.

Sadler also oversaw a series of training exercises and disaster drills in recent years that allowed local officials to practice for a real emergency.

Also during his watch, Emergency Management accomplished its long-sought goal of creating a dedicated emergency operations center where local officials can gather to coordinate emergency response efforts.

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