County hires emergency management director

Published 4:57 pm Monday, June 26, 2017

Beaufort County has hired a new emergency management director. The new hire comes in the wake of former Beaufort County Emergency Management Director John Pack’s retirement earlier this year and the reorganization of the county’s emergency services.

Starting July 3, a month into a predicted more-active-than-usual hurricane season, Christopher T. Newkirk will taking on emergency management in Beaufort County.

“The EM Director reports to the Emergency Services director and will be handling the emergency management responsibilities of the county,” said county Manager Brian Alligood. “He will also supervise the part-time fire marshal position and manage that program.”

In addition to holding a degree in emergency medical service, as well as many certifications in the emergency management, and fire, rescue and EMS fields, Newkirk currently serves as a lieutenant with the Greenville Fire/Rescue department, has been an active member of the N.C. Urban Search and Rescue Task Force Team since its inception and spent the last 12 years as a lead fire and EMS instructor at Pitt Community College, according to the release. Carnie Hedgepeth, who came aboard as emergency services director in April, formerly served as director of fire and EMS training at the school.

“We are excited to have Chris become a part of our team. Chris has a proven history of a cooperative work ethic both with volunteer and career emergency responders and the public. We are looking forward to his leadership experience in our office’s coordination of response to emergencies in Beaufort County,” Hedgepeth wrote in a press release.

The reorganization of county emergency services is an effort to streamline the entire department so division heads can focus on day-to-day operations, as opposed to the administrative work, Alligood said in a past interview. Emergency Services includes EMS, fire marshal operations and animal control, in addition to emergency management. Alligood said Monday that the reorganization is going well.