Officials train for an emergency

Thursday, June 3, 2010
Photo/Tammy Curtis Steve Moore and George Cossey, training instructors with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Mangagement instruct a class of 34 fire, police, city, hospital and health workers at the Omaha Center in Cherokee Village May 24-27. The classes are required by FEMA to show proactivity on the part of the cities in regard to a potential disaster.

After any major catastrophe, whether it be a large scale terrorist attack such as 9-11, or a smaller scale hostage or bank robbery, there is always mass chaos. In order to make things operate smoothly in the event of a disaster, whether it be natural or man made, the key to maintaining safety and order among the general population is collaboration and cooperation between the various public service agencies involved in the incident. To meet requirements set forth by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the entity that often provides funding for the aftermath of a disaster, city officials in the area were busy with classes to help them address common issues related to disasters.

The four day training session was held at Omaha Center in Cherokee Village. Representatives from the Little Rock branch of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) instructed the Incident Command Systems class. Over 30 fire fighters, nurses, police officers, mayors and other city officials took part in the training. Instructor Steve Moore, said that these free classes are required by the National Incident Management Systems (NIMS) to assist cities in taking steps to be proactive in the event of any type crisis situation whether it be small scale or a full scale complex disaster. The need for more training for large scale incidents was brought to light in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

This training is part of nationwide training He said as soon as the groups arrive, they are split into groups so each has an opportunity to interact and work with officials from other departments, much the same as it would be were there an actual disaster or crisis situation.

On February 28, 2003, the President issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 5 to establish "a single, comprehensive approach to domestic incident management" for the nation. The National Incident Management System (NIMS), which incorporates the Incident Command System (ICS), was selected as the most efficient tool to successfully manage incidents, emergencies and events, wherever they occur. Subsequently, on December 17, 2003, the President issued HSPD 8 directing all Federal Departments and Agencies to adopt the NIMS concept and organizational structure for domestic emergency management activities.

Moore said the participants in both the G300 and G400 classroom based training must also take the IS300 class online and pass a written test. He said they will then be given a certificate of achievement indicating the completion of the test. Several months ago, the cities in Sharp County enacted ordinances as required nationally by FEMA to indicate that they would take proactive measures to be more prepared in the event of a disaster. This came in the wake of Sharp County's devastating 2008 and 2009, with numerous floods, an ice storm and the tornado that demolished the city of Highland. In order to qualify for FEMA funding in the event of a future disaster, the cities were required to take these measures, among others, as steps to become more proactive in ways to address disasters.

Throughout the four day sessions, groups were required to participate in problem solving and case scenarios after being instructed through lecture and Power Point instructions. Representatives from numerous areas including some as far away as Bradford took part in the no cost training. These included officials from the Cave City Fire and Police Departments; The City of Ash Flat; The City of Hardy; Arkansas Department of Health; Fulton County Hospital; Cherokee Village Fire Department; Ash Flat Fire Department; Spring River Paramedic and Ambulance Service; Morriston Fire Department; and Nine Mile Ridge Fire Department.

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  • All cities should be required to invest in training not only their employees but also their volunteers to know what to do in the event of an emergency or natural disaster. Many of the smaller towns are not equipped with volunteers that have the minimum training requirements or equipment to use in the event of an emergency. Even though it's up to the individual cities to organize their own training, in some instances the City management overlooks the need or don't want to invest the money in paying for the necessary training.

    -- Posted by goatgirl on Fri, Jun 4, 2010, at 3:59 PM
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