In previous years, disaster preparedness was fragmented among different agencies at the Federal level as well at the local level. While administrated at the Federal level by the Defense Department’s Civil Defense Preparedness Agency, Ohio local programs reported to the Adjutant General’s Department, Civil Defense Corps. In 1954 the City of Van Wert and the County of Van Wert entered into agreements that established a Van Wert County County-Wide Civil Defense Organization. The director was appointed by the Mayor of Van Wert and the Van Wert County Commissioners. Mr. A. Frederick Redrup was appointed Director, with offices located in the Park Hotel, 223 South Washington Street. Mr. Redrup was the owner/manager of the hotel.
On July 12, 1956 the operations was moved into one of the steel buildings owned by the city at Waterworks Parks, 134/144 Brooks Avenue. The building formerly was used for veteran’s housing. Mr. Reynold Nelson served as City Deputy Director, and Mrs. Isabel Able Secretary to the Director. Mr. Redrup stated the Van Wert Amateur Radio Club sponsored the radio communications for the new control center with 12 radio operators. The Van Wert Amateur Radio club is still helping the Emergency Management Agency with communications and is recognized for providing emergency communications for Homeland Security and Emergency Management at the State and Federal level.
In the middle seventies, the operations was moved to the Good Building located at 301 North Washington Street. That building has been torn down and is now the parking lot for the St. Marys Lutheran Church. In December of 1990 the operations was moved to 1220 East Lincoln Highway on the campus of the Marsh Foundation and is its current location.
In 1979 President Carter’s executive order merged many separate disaster related responsibilities at the Federal level into a new Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In Ohio, chapter 5502.26 of the Ohio Revised Code establishes the county wide Emergency Management Agency. In recent years the program was moved from the Adjutant General’s Department to the Ohio Department of Public Safety.