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Wrong Chuck McHugh?

Chuck McHugh

Assistant Director

Arizona Military Museum

HQ Phone:  (602) 267-2676

Email: c***@***.gov


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I agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand that I will receive a subscription to ZoomInfo Community Edition at no charge in exchange for downloading and installing the ZoomInfo Contact Contributor utility which, among other features, involves sharing my business contacts as well as headers and signature blocks from emails that I receive.

Arizona Military Museum

5636 E. McDowell Road

Phoenix, Arizona,85008

United States

Background Information

Employment History

Sheriff's Deputy

Pima County

Assistant Director of Operations

Emergency Management Division

Web References(7 Total References)


Chuck McHugh, assistant director of the Arizona Division of Emergency Management.
State Rep.

www.azwg.org [cached]

Mr. Chuck McHugh, Assistant Director, Arizona Division of Emergency Management

www.wilandassociates.com [cached]

Questions that Chuck McHugh, Operation Section Chief at Arizona Department of Emergency Management, would be asking to avoid another federal exercise where the Arizona Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) would be caught in the middle.
After the scenario update, Chuck McHugh addressed the group. Lou Trammel and Chuck McHugh believed that ifthere was a common operating picture with listed objectives, the next step would be to develop a definitive command and control organizational structure to lead the response in the field. Chuck felt that early command and control leadership and support for the thousands of responders would be critical for a successful disaster response. Tapping into his 42 years in the emergency services, 2S years as a County Sheriff and 17 years with ADEM, Chuck knew that governments tend to respond to disasters in three ways: 1) Ignore it and wait for it to go away; 2) Respond without organization; and,3) Respond to it with organization. However, it was Chuck's recent experience as a Liaison Officer on an Arizona Type 2 All Hazards incident management team that cemented his belief that incident management teams were the tool to bring early and effective organization to incidents. As the Vigilant Guard Arizona exercise moved closer and closer, Chuck and the ADEM staff stressed that the key to success for the scenario was to stay focused on providing early and functional command and control efforts in the field with incident management teams. Chuck McHugh knew the benefits of defining success in emergency response. He also knew that it was valuable to talk about what failure looks like. He knew that if the signs and symptoms of failure can be seen early,it allows time to fix the problems before they become catastrophic. With this in mind, he would watch for the slow set up and operations of the Joint Field Office. He also expected to see in some form or another the reluctance of local and regional EOC's to consolidate within the Joint Field Office. Too many times he had seen understaffed EOC's around the state move towards dysfunction as they not only worked at providing coordination and support but also drifted towards trying to dictate command and control strategies and tactics to field units. He would look for signs and symptoms that the JFO's coordination and support role was taking on command and control duties by assigning resources directly to the field without any incident management team oversight. Lou Trammel and Chuck McHugh knew the organizational model that they wanted to overlay on our nations' national response framework that would be heading to them in this exercise.


The weather was calm and clear when Pima County Sheriff's Deputy Chuck McHugh got the call on Sunday, July 26, 1981: A young male had dived headfirst into a shallow pool at Tanque Verde Falls."We called DPS Air Rescue to respond and the Southern Arizona Rescue Association to respond from the ground," says McHugh, who was the Sheriff's Department coordinator for search and rescue operations."DPS had landed at the top of a fairly small waterfall and we were hiking probably a quarter-mile downstream," says McHugh."It was a churning mass of brown, chocolaty water, with lots of debris mixed up in it," says McHugh.Within seconds, the raging waters would sweep eight to their deaths, plunging the victims to the foot of Tanque Verde Falls, a drop of 80 feet.It would take five days to recover all the bodies."What had happened was, some of the bodies were pinned underneath the current under the base of the main fall," says McHugh, who was there until the last body was recovered.Meanwhile, McHugh was working his way downstream along the canyon walls when he encountered an 18-year-old woman."She was in water up to her waist and holding on to a tiny cottonwood sapling."Salvation came with the arrival of a rescue helicopter from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, which lowered a flight surgeon dangling on a cable."He got a sling around her, got her attached and rescued her," says McHugh, who now works in Phoenix for the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs.After the tragedy, McHugh and the others learned that a small, isolated cell had drifted above the headwaters of Tanque Verde Creek, dumping on those headwaters."You're always taking some degree of risk of a weather event occurring upstream from you," he says."You have to be very alert."But on that beautiful Sunday almost 27 years ago, "it would have been very, very difficult for those people to anticipate a flash flood," says McHugh.

www.arizona-skywarn.org [cached]

"Homes are potentially going in where floods could be," said Chuck McHugh, assistant director of operations for Arizona's Emergency Management Division.

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