FEMA workshop a success

Published 7:25 pm Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Local Emergency Management officials recently held a workshop coordinating upcoming training exercises.

“The purpose of this training exercise program workshop orientation is to bring key public officials, emergency responders and private industry safety officials together to discuss the upcoming fiscal year disaster drill calendar,” said Elliott Jones, Crenshaw County EMA director.

Participants included officials from the State EMA, Life Flight, Crenshaw County E-911, the Luverne Police Department, Brantley Police Department, Crenshaw County Sheriff’s Office, Crenshaw County Roads Department, Crenshaw County coroner’s office, DongWon, SMART Alabama, Crenshaw Community Hospital, Beacon Children’s Hospital, Crenshaw County Schools, the Crenshaw County Firefighters Association and fire and rescue personnel from Luverne, Brantley and Highland Home.

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Jones set out to brainstorm some scenarios for future disaster drills. The group collectively decided an active shooter scenario would be the best option. The hospitals have started to coordinate an exercise for October and other training exercises are planned for later in the year.

Previous exercises have helped to identify weaknesses in emergency responses, namely a need for better communication and transportation. During the discussion, each organization shared its preferred use of communication and how to make those communications successful.

“We wanted to have an open discussion Q and A between agencies for the purpose of gaining a more in-depth understanding of what role each agency will perform in assisting each other during a time of crisis. And also to serve the purpose of simply getting to know each other,” Jones said. “Each individual came to the table with their own experience and knowledge, but united under one roof the wealth of knowledge present was humbling.”

Law enforcement officials suggested each organization provide current floor plans that E-911 officials could use to direct emergency responders to specific areas. Others suggested labeling or numbering the outsides of buildings on school campuses and large plants for the same purpose.

“As Crenshaw County’s EMA director, my responsibility to the citizens of this county is to make sure that we are prepared in case of a crisis. I am very excited about starting this year’s training exercises,” Jones said. “Today’s meeting was an absolute success due to the amount of community leaders that were present. This shows that our leaders care and want to keep this county as safe as we possibly can.”

For more information on public safety, Jones may be reached at 335-4538.