Putnam County Hosts 10-County Disaster Training

Image courtesy of the News Tribune
The 10 counties of Region 2 South met at the Putnam County EMA building in Hennepin this week for an elected officials’ workshop. The workshop was designed to teach officials about programs and grants available from Illinois Emergency Management Agency, state and federal partners, and to see emergency vehicles and mutual aid assets.

Representatives from Peoria Life Flight and Illinois Public Works Mutual Aid Network also were on hand. The workshop was coordinated by Keenan Campbell, Bureau County EMA director, and Kevin Lalley, Lee County EMA director.

Representing IEMA was regional coordinator Brian Brackemyer, trainer Kathy Spellman, and chief of operations Trent Thompson. Brackemyer discussed what the emergency management agency does before, during and after a disaster. Some of those include maintaining emergency operations plans, coordination structures and training or exercise programs, keeping the public informed, attending special events and applying for grants.

Thompson discussed Illinois Mutual Support programs.

“All the local programs have agreements to cross all type of different boundaries. They mutually support each other,” he said.

Spellman was at the workshop to support all of the counties at the workshop. She trains first responders on a day-to-day basis. She discussed the process of declaring a disaster area. She discussed how the local, state and federal governments were involved.

“I think the elected officials were happy to learn about the disaster assistance process,” Campbell said.

Workshop participants also viewed equipment used by IEMA. The Unified Command Post, a large RV-type vehicle was on display. It carries state-of-art equipment such as cameras for live-streaming, work stations of different types to accommodate each needed division.

There is also a round table area so all of the main players in a disaster can be grouped together. The command center is adaptable to any situation, and can be utilized by all types of agencies.

Approximately 50 people from the varying counties attended the event. Campbell said there would be another workshop in April to give officials from all the counties, but especially the far away counties, a chance to attend.

Source: News Tribune