Governor's Office for Local Development

Press Release Date:  Thursday, August 30, 2007  
Contact Information:  Lanny Brannock
Public Information Officer

Bluegrass Emergency Response Team honored as top project for regional service

FRANKFORT, Ky.­-The City of Winchester was awarded the 2007 Spirit of Kentucky Award at the 32nd Annual Governor’s Local Issues Conference held August 30-31, 2007, at the Galt House East in Louisville.  The Spirit of Kentucky Award is given to an organization that demonstrates the effective coordination of government resources for multiple government entities. The award was given for the Bluegrass Emergency Response Team (BERT) project.        

“The Bluegrass Emergency Response Team is a unique group of emergency responders who have pooled resources from eleven counties to become a major emergency response asset for the Bluegrass region,” said Governor Fletcher.  “The cooperation between those counties has enabled BERT to become a valuable resource in times where large-scale emergency response is required. This is a shining example of counties working together to combine resources to serve large areas.”

The project was a collaborative effort of nine counties, nine municipalities and one combined government in the Bluegrass Area Development District. Those entities include: Bourbon County, City of Berea, City of Lancaster, City of Nicholasville, City of Paris, City of Richmond, City of Stanton, City of Versailles, City of Winchester, Clark County, Estill County, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Garrard County, Harrison County, Jessamine County, Madison County, Nicholas County, Powell County and Woodford County.

BERT has combined grant monies available in the participating counties to create a regional emergency response unit capable of responding to hazardous material spills, heavy rescue situations (including structural collapse, confined space and swift water), and mass casualty incidents. By regionally combining resources, BERT was able to create a multi-million dollar entity with little to no cost to individual county and city governments.        

According to the application submitted by BERT, “Communities participating in BERT have realized the importance of regional development and cooperation. Not only have they received a first-line, state-of-the-art service, but they have received it for little to nothing.”

Several applications for the Spirit of Kentucky Award were received and reviewed.

Each project was judged by the following criteria:

           1.  Demonstration of inter-local cooperation and opportunity for fiscal efficiency.
           2.  Creativity and innovation.
           3.  Participation, effort and interest required.
           4.  Equitable, representative and cooperative funding participation.
           5.  Savings/benefit/value derived for government units.

The Spirit of Kentucky Award is given annually at the Governor’s Local Issues Conference.  The Governor’s Local Issues Conference is made possible through the Kentucky Local Issues Conference, Inc. Board, a non-profit organization comprised of members from the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo), the Kentucky Council of Area Development Districts (KCADD), the Kentucky Judge/Executives Association (KCJEA), the Kentucky League of Cities (KLC) and the Kentucky Magistrates and Commissioners Association (KMCA).