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During an awards competition at the 2003 South Carolina Association of Counties conference, Taylor Jones of Anderson County, Steve McDade of Abbeville County, Henry Gordon of Oconee County and Don Evett of Pickens County saw several individual county presentations. It was there that these county emergency managers realized that an individual county's weakness could be compensated for by a neighbor's strength.

Putting aside personal egos, these emergency leaders and county leaders came together to increase the strength and capabilities for all residents of the then four-county bloc, and extended neighbors as needed. As a result of this initial effort, the Western Piedmont Regional Emergency Management Task Force was born.

Within its operational area, the task force serves upwards of 500,000 people in approximately 3,000 square miles. The range of hazards in these five counties is wide.
Duke Energy, which provides the bulk of energy to this region, has a major nuclear power plant in Oconee County. All five counties are also part of the burgeoning I-85 corridor, which has become a major truck route for both hazardous and non-hazardous cargo between Atlanta and Charlotte and further on to the ports of Charleston, Savannah and Wilmington.