FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX 56) – Dangerous weather can happen in the blink of an eye, which is why Kentucky Emergency Management has deployed a new system to improve its response.

From the western Kentucky tornadoes to the eastern Kentucky floods, wildfires in Estill County, and windstorms in Lexington, Kentuckians have seen it all in the past two years.

The Kentucky Qualification System (KQS) establishes a framework for assessing the skills and competencies of all personnel who respond to various emergencies. The goal is to have the right people in the right place with the right expertise for whatever situation gets thrown the state’s way.

Local emergency management directors are often overwhelmed by an influx of calls and emails in the midst of a disaster, so the state hopes KQS will alleviate some of that stress.

“It’s so important to make sure everybody is getting the assistance they need, and nobody slips through the cracks,” said Kentucky Emergency Management Director Jeremy Slinker. “So sometimes it just takes more eyes and ears so we can see in those eyes and ears down there and start taking tasks off of those that are impacted. They focus on the highest priority things for them, and then we start doing the work behind the scenes.”

The implementation of KQS stems from the federal government’s requirement that all states implement the system’s national counterpart.

Slinker said they felt it was best to not only implement the national version but have one tailored to Kentucky as well.

Slinker outlines that there are multiple parts to an emergency and the response that follows.

The first part is what Kentucky Emergency Management calls emergency work. These are lifesaving and life-sustaining practices. Slinker says typically, this is where people who aren’t affected think emergency response ends, but they’d be mistaken.

You also have the recovery phase, where critical infrastructure gets repaired.

There are also the rebuilding and sustainment phases, which allow for a fast return to normal and the long-term prevention of future emergencies.

KQS puts local experts in place, both on the ground and at emergency management headquarters in Frankfort, who specialize in each phase of a pre-and post-disaster response.

Such experts include police and EMS personnel, meteorologists, construction workers skilled in rebuilding, and many more.


These experts are also Kentuckians, committed to serving their fellow Kentuckians.

“Everybody here and everybody who works in this field and that we’ve discussed, you know, their service-oriented, that’s what they’ve signed up to do is serve, and in selfless service,” Slinker said. “So, this is just another example that we want to be the best we can be at our service. And this will ensure that we’re focused on that.”

KQS is already in effect working on disasters that occurred when the program was first thought about 18 months ago, and even on disasters from long before that, as far back as 2016–2017.

For information, you can read about it here.